Chipotle Mexican Grill has joined the ranks of restaurants offering free or discounted meals for veterans and active duty military personnel this Veterans Day.
And while many eateries serve free food to veterans and current service men and women, Chipotle takes it to another level: Its participating locations also serve military spouses and members of the National Guard and Reserves.
We haven’t seen this year’s Veterans Day promotional details from Chipotle yet, but based on the past two years you can expect a buy-one-get-one deal on an evening leading up to Veterans Day but not on Veterans Day itself (at participating locations only).
Make it Easy: Bring Proof of Your Service
Like any restaurant or retailer offering an exclusive deal, Chipotle Mexican Grill will want to verify you served (or currently serve) in the military before extending its special offer to you.
This verification process tends to be easier at sit-down restaurants like Applebee’s or Buffalo Wild Wings because you can present your credentials to the hosting staff before ordering.
At places like Chipotle, where you first encounter a staff member when you order your tacos, burrito, bowl, or salad, you may need to be more proactive about verifying your status as a veteran or service member.
Be sure to tell the staff you plan to take advantage of the Veterans Day special. You may also need to remind the staff member running the register in case the message didn’t make its way down the line with your food.
Naturally, to prove your status you’ll need to show proof of service in a form such as:
- Your Military ID card.
- Your Veterans ID card.
- Your DD 214.
- Your State-Issued ID Card or Drivers License if it has a Veteran Service Label
- Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
- Veterans Organization ID
- Citations or commendations along with a photograph in uniform.
- Wearing your uniform itself, especially if your name is on it.
Having clear, easy-to-verify proof of service lets the staff focus more on getting your meal prepared and less on verifying your status as a veteran.
Days and Times for the Offer May Vary
Chipotle Mexican Grill tends to share details of its Veterans Day offer around the first of November.
Be sure to check the restaurant’s website to find the location nearest to you and call to check the details before arriving at the restaurant.
This is true for any Veterans Day offer but especially important at Chipotle since the restaurant recently shook things up with its annual special.
For example, the promotion’s day of availability tends to vary. Rather than honoring veterans on Veterans Day itself, Chipotle may pick a weeknight leading up to the holiday for the promotion.
Last year the restaurant honored veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 7, four days before Veterans Day.
Once the day has been set you’ll also want to pay attention to the hours of availability. In 2016, the offer was valid from 3 pm until close on the designated day. Last year, veterans could claim the special from 5 pm until close.
Make sure you’re arriving on the right day and time.
What Does the Veterans Day Deal Include?
Once again you’ll want to check the details before arriving since they haven’t been released yet.
But based on previous years we’re expecting a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotion during the dinner (evening) hours at participating locations on a weeknight leading up to Veterans Day Nov. 11.
The offer usually includes burritos, bowls, and salads, as well as taco orders. And like many BOGOs, the free entree must cost the same amount or less than the paid entree.
So if you order steak tacos for yourself and chicken tacos for your guest, you’ll pay for the steak tacos since they usually cost more. The chicken tacos will be free.
The offer usually does not include chips or drinks, all of which will be charged at full price even when they accompany a free entree.
Extending and Limiting a BOGO offer
As the number of restaurants with Veterans Day promotions has increased, we’ve noticed a trend: Most places allow only veterans and active duty service members to participate in their promotions.
This is understandable. After all, we don’t expect restaurants to ignore their key mission: making money for shareholders, owners, investors, and covering costs for food, staff, and equipment.
But Chipotle has bucked the trend by extending its offer to members of the Reserves and the National Guard as well as military spouses, all of whom must present valid proof of their status, of course.
Like all promotions, however, you should be aware of some limitations:
- The offer can’t be combined with other coupons or promotions. If you have a 10-percent off coupon or another free burrito coupon, save it for another trip.
- Only one free menu item will be granted for each verified military veteran, spouse, or active duty service member.
- To get the free item a customer must first purchase an entree of equal or greater value.
- It’s a dine-in only offer.
- While most locations will likely participate, some have the freedom to opt out, so check with your area location before arriving.
- We said it above but it’s worth stressing again: Find out the day and time of this year’s promotion since it may not be on Veterans Day itself.
What to Expect When You Eat at Chipotle
Founded in Denver back in 1993, Chipotle recently moved its headquarters to Newport, California. The chain now has more than 2,200 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.
When you walk in you’ll notice a fast-casual approach, usually with clean and simple dining areas and an ordering counter near the back of the store.
At the counter, you’ll choose a kind of entree (tacos, burrito, salad, or bowl) then assemble the meal to your liking by choosing meat (ground beef isn’t typically available), beans, sauces, salsas, and other toppings such as Romaine lettuce.
At the end of the counter you can add chips, salsas, and drinks, then pay. If you like Mexican or Southwestern flavors, you should enjoy taking Chipotle up on its offer of a buy-one, get-one entree to honor veterans this year.
Enjoy Your Military Discounts this Veterans Day
Every day, companies provide veterans with military discounts on a range of services and products. Veterans Day provides even more opportunities to save as these companies generously offer gifts and promotions to veterans.
Whether you are looking for opportunities to dine out for free, save at your favorite stores with retail discounts, or visit some new attractions or events this November, you can plan a memorable Veterans Day with loved ones and lots of savings.