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The Secret of the Secret Quesadilla

image You can order a quesadilla at Chipotle, even though it’s not on the menu.

Every parent knows this, because it’s the perfect thing to order for little kids — just cheese and a tortilla.

Every parent tells their friends.

Result: Tons of word of mouth.

Why people share: Because it’s a secret. Because it’s special. Because one parent feels smart and helpful when they clue in another parent to the secret.

When it stops: The day they add it to the menu. There’s no reason to tell a friend about something everyone knows about.

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  1. Will December 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    We have a good local hamburger restaurant with a similar story. You can order a “big kids meal” – it’s a kids meal with a little extra food and full size cup. They charge $1 more than a kids meal, but it is great if you don’t want to leave stuffed.

    You can hear moms whispering to other moms in line, “you can order a big kids meal for yourself. It’s not on the menu, but I do it all the time.” My wife thinks she is some kind of secret agent when she gets to share this with someone!!

  2. sioux city truck December 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Taco John’s in the midwest will make you a “taco bravo” with cheese between the soft shell and the hard shell instead of refried beans and this is commonly called a “cheesy bravo”. Every Taco John’s I have been to knows of them, knows how popular they are, but they have never added it to the menu.

  3. AnnNow December 18, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    Are you saying that Chipotle added a Quesadilla to their menu? If they did, I believe it was *brilliant,* despite its possible effect on “I have a secret!” WOM buzz……

    I remember the very DAY I discovered Chipotle (Ford Pkwy, St Paul, MN) with it’s metallic walls and football-sized life-changing Barbacoa Burritos. Chipotle shot to the top of my “Favorite Restaurants” list that day.

    I made a mental note that day, however, that I would NEVER bring my kids there, as there was no kids menu, and I would not be ordering $6 burritos for my 7-year-old or 3-year-old, even to share. They just wouldn’t like it. Why waste the money or deal with the inevitable mess? I wondered how such a great restaurant as this could neglect the important need of its customers. Nope, Chipotle would have to be my personal grown-up indulgence ONLY.

    So while Chipotle may have given up some WOM by putting the quesadilla on the menu, they have now made a new impression and made their restaurant more family-friendly by letting us ALL in on “the secret”! Go Chipotle!

  4. Frances December 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    This brings to my mind the famed secret menu of the West Coast In-N-Out burger chain. I don’t think the company’s own site had the menu before, but now they do.

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