Do you want beans with that?

Students flock to Chipotle for free burritos

Just like Christmas, Labor Day and Thanksgiving, Free Burrito Day at Chipotle is an event that marks the calendars of many students.

For some of the regulars it is a day to save six dollars, for others it is a first encounter with Mexican-American food.

“I think it is delicious,” said Lydia Davis, an electrical engineering sophomore and first time Chipotle customer. “I’ve never even had a burrito before.”

The line that wrapped around the restaurant on South Limestone Street doesn’t bother most customers.

“I don’t mind the wait,” said Hollywood Haley, a Lexington resident. “I’m a musician, I’ve been waiting all my life.”

Chipotle employees said that the day of free food is a very successful advertising technique.

“This money is much better spent than traditional advertising,” said Kay Sterling, the local marketing manager. She came from Cincinnati to help work the event. “What makes my job easy is all you have to do is feed people and they’re sold.”

Mike Wilson, manager of the restaurant near campus, said the cost of the day’s burritos comes from their advertising budget.

“We use this as an ad expense,” Wilson said. “We don’t consider it as a money loss.”

Many employees from other Lexington and surrounding area locations came to help work the fifth annual event.

“The first couple of (years) it was tough, but now we’ve got the system down and it’s fun now that we know how to do it,” Wilson said.

By the end of the day, employees worked a collective 200 hours and went through close to 800 pounds of chicken.

“Chicken is definitely the most popular,” Wilson said.

Despite the increase in the number of customers at Chipotle, the neighboring McDonalds on Limestone denies that their business has been hurt.

“I would say if anything we’re getting more business,” said Matt Louden, who has been the manager of McDonald’s for four years. “People look at the wicked line and come here instead.”

Brian Hicks, a local McDonald’s customer, agreed.

“Well I’m homeless,” he said. “I wait in a lot of lines, but I’m not waiting in that.”

Chipotle employees said the long lines give them job experience. All of the people who come in from other Chipotle restaurants to help and from other cities do so on a volunteer basis, Sterling said.

At the end of the day, there was a campus full of happy bellies.

“God, that was good and it was so free,” said Tyler Woodling, a business management sophomore. “I will definitely be back.”