Email showdown: Moe's vs. Chipotle

McKenzie Gregory

If your town is anything like mine, people have extremely strong opinions about the merits of different burritos. There are a few third party candidates – think Qdoba or Baja Fresh – but the majority of folks claim a strict allegiance to either Team Moe’s or Team Chipotle. 
Aside from the fact that a pseudo-Mexican restaurant without queso is completely pointless (if you can’t tell, I’m a little biased on this one), Moe’s and Chipotle do have quite a bit in common. But in the battle of the fast-casual burrito joints, who comes out on top? Let’s find out. 



Email #1: The Double Opt-in
I have to give it to them: This is a smart move. Using a double opt-in at signup is a fantastic way to maintain a clean email list because it ensures none of your contacts signed up on accident or gave you the wrong information.
And this? It's one of the best double opt-ins I’ve seen. With a streamlined design and engaging headline copy, it takes a message that’s usually pretty cut-and-dry and gives it a branded feel.
Email #2: The Welcome 
Ok, ok… you’ve won me over, Chipotle: This is a FANTASTIC welcome email.
It’s bold, completely on-brand, sets expectations for send cadence and content from the get-go, and uses that all-too-important first touch to get helpful location data from their new subscribers. 
Plus, they get bonus points for huge, tappable icons and buttons that look great on mobile

Email #3: “Spot the Imposter” 
Another email, another smart choice from Chipotle. The combination of gamification, a sweet prize, and positioning themselves against from the competition with a key differentiator (all natural ingredients) makes for a compelling, super engaging email. 
It's been two weeks since that last email, and I haven't gotten anything else from Chipotle. I won’t dock them too many points, though: If you don’t have anything valuable to share, it's best to send a little less than to send for no reason at all. 
Moving on… 

Email #1: The Welcome
This really pains me, guys. 
As a loyal member of Team Moe’s, I WANT to like this email. And the principle is fine: It’s an automated welcome note, which is a great thing to include in your email strategy.
But the design… 
I can’t read half of it on my phone. And are we really still at a point where you can’t give me a mobile coupon? This whole thing is honestly baffling to me. 
Email #2: Cinco de Moe’s 
Now THIS is a respectable campaign. Though I’d love to see some live text in this email, it’s visually engaging, looks good on mobile, and features an animated GIF – a huge step up from that last send. There isn’t really a CTA, but since they’re promoting an in-store event, I’ll let them get away with it this time. 
Email #3: Social Proof 
Well done, Moe's. Using other people’s words of praise (and in this case, some cheeky copy) helps them promote themselves without coming across as boastful. And an app callout paired with an enticing promotion allows them to create multiple touch points with subscribers and encourage more in-store visits. 
Email #4: Referral Confirmation
Spoiler alert: As Moe’s power-eater, I have the app. After referring my friend Kelly, I got this email. While this isn't the most beautiful email ever, I love how they create a cohesive experience from the app to the inbox. 
BONUS: Birthday offer 
Here’s my theory: Someone designed their automated messages years ago, and they haven’t been touched since. So while their new emails are well-designed and work on mobile, their automated sends look incredibly antiquated. 
Use this example as a reminder: Automated emails are some of the most effective emails you’ll ever send... but you CANNOT just set them and forget them. 

If Moe’s would just update those automated emails, I would give them the win. But the pure fact that they have “Have your printer ready” on two of their most important emails is too much to handle. 
As much as it pains me – and even though I’m still Team Moe’s for life – I’m giving this showdown to Chipotle.  


Winner: Chipotle 

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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