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Chipotle, Starbucks launch summer food and drink freebies

Chains look to drum up sales with giveaways

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Starbucks Corp. are attempting to spice up the summer doldrums with free food and drink offers, possibly for life.

For Chipotle, the move ups the ante on its Chiptopia summer loyalty program by offering customers a chance to earn free burritos for a year to those who sign up before Aug. 15. 

Three people in the U.S. who register for Chiptopia before the deadline will be eligible to win 52 free burrito cards, with a value of $10 per card, or a total value of $520. 

Another 30 runners up will be selected to win a “Burritos for 10” card, with a value of up to $100 per card, the company said.

Chipotle's loyalty program has already proven successful, and now the company is upping the ante.

Chris Arnold, Chipotle communications director, said the added incentive is aimed at folks who didn’t sign up in July, which was required to earn bonus rewards for visits through July, August and September.

Customers that have already signed up for Chiptopia can also enter to win in the new burritos-for-life sweepstakes, the company said.

The summer loyalty program has been a hit so far, Chipotle executives said last month after releasing lackluster second-quarter results. Chiptopia was credited with improving same-store sales and traffic during the first half of July. At that point, about 3.6 million people had signed up for the loyalty program. 

Starbucks Corp. also launched a summer sweepstakes offering loyalty members a chance to win Starbucks for Life, or for a month or a week, as well as earning millions of bonus Stars toward free food and drink.

Over the past two years, Starbucks has done a similar sweepstakes during the holiday season, but the promotion announced Tuesday is a “summer edition,” the Seattle-based operator said.

And this one involves a digital game featuring a character the chain calls Swim Kitten.

From Aug. 2 through Sept. 12, Starbucks Rewards members can earn game play each time they make a purchase using their loyalty card or the app in participating locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec.

Members can log in and redeem their game play opportunities at in the U.S., or in Canada.

Customers who make two Starbucks transactions in a day can win two chances to play the game. Those who spend $10 or more in a transaction can earn two daily bonus play sessions, or four plays per day. 

Every time someone plays, they have more opportunities to win Starbucks for Life by collecting game pieces in a given row on their digital game board, sort of like bingo.

Seven participants will have the opportunity to win the grand prize of Starbucks for Life. Another 30, including 25 in the U.S. and five in Canada, will win Starbucks for a year.

Another 150 participants, or 125 in the U.S. and 25 in Canada, will be eligible to win Starbucks for a month. And 550 people (500 in the U.S. and 50 in Canada) will win free Starbucks for a week.

For registering, members can also win instant bonus Stars in increments of 125, 25, 10 and 5. For Gold members, 125 stars earns a reward of free food or drink at Starbucks.

IHOP is also offering free food in August and September, but only for kids.

From Aug. 1 through Sept. 25, the Glendale, Calif.-based family-dining chain is offering a promotion in which kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée at participating restaurants from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time each day. 

“We know family members are looking to soak up the final days of summer with each other, and what better way to do that than over dinner?” said Kirk Thompson, IHOP senior vice president, marketing, in a statement.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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