And new options did we bring! First, we changed our tortillas to a newer, lower calorie option and got new, 100% compostable bowls. Those bowls also came in different sizes, the Little Bowl (the size of an Original burrito) and the Big Bowl (even bigger at 40 ounces). To go in these bowls, we introduced two new salads. The New England Harvest (baby kale, quinoa, mushrooms, squash with cranberries, beets, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette) quickly became a fan favorite. Bowls, salads, and quinoa… we were keeping up with the times.
In February, we celebrated our 17th birthday with 17 days of special deals. The deals included small Nutella Milkshakes for $2, free guacamole on any burrito or bowl, $1 chips and guac, and more. The Teriyaki $3 bowl deal was so popular that we actually ran out of Teriyaki sauce that day.
As usual, April brought startling news– the guacapocalypse was upon us! Avocado prices rose and that tasty green dip we call guacamole became cost prohibitive. So on April 1st, we had to call it quits on serving guacamole. In true boloco April Fools’ Day fashion, we had lots of unhappy guests and shocked avocado-enthusiasts. But we made up for the outrage with free guac on all burritos and $1 chips and guac all day.
On a more serious note, April also brought with it the remembrance of the four lives lost on the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Several of our team members – from our CFO to our Harvard Square GM – and friends ran the Marathon and we even got to see them run by some of our restaurants on the course.
In our 2014 spirit of making really big changes, on May 5th we introduced a new loyalty program, which was a far cry from the punch cards of 2001 and the boloco cards of 2006. Adios, boloco card, and welcome to the world, boloco passport! The boloco passport, powered by our friends at LevelUp, is an app-based rewards program that allows our guests to order from their phone, order online, or pay in-store with their phone, all while earning rewards. We definitely rocked the boat with this one and we’re still tweaking it. It’s a work in progress.
In July, we welcomed two summer smoothie specials– the Tropi-Kale and the Orange Dreamsicle. However, the name “Tropi-Kale” didn’t come to us as easily as we’d hoped… So we went to our guests and ran a contest via Twitter and Facebook. Our friend Joe Luchison came up with the great name Tropi-Kale and won over our hearts (and our guests’ hearts!) with it. Thanks again, Joe!
As we mentioned, the last year brought with it a lot of changes and we knew it was time to listen up. So, in August, we invited some guests over for dinner. After hearing all of their thoughts, we decided that maybe it was time for a few more changes…
But as we’ve learned, change can be very good! On September 3rd, we kicked off Free Burrito Days (we really do love giving away free burritos) at our twenty locations across New England. We also welcomed back our friend, the Small Bowl, after an eight month hiatus, and re-named our Little Bowl its true name, the Original Bowl. To highlight our bowls, we introduced a new specialty salad called the Charred Broccoli. We also decided to keep the Tropi-Kale as a permanent menu item.
In October, we decided to throw it back to one of our original burrito friends. But mostly we just plain missed the Yucatan burrito. So we brought it back (for a limited time) along with our Halloween favorite, the Pumpkin Shake. While we can’t confirm the exact numbers, we’re pretty sure the amount of pickled onions consumed in the world was doubled in the month of October.
Most falls at boloco mean that the elusive Late November burrito will return. This year, we said, “Let’s talk turkey and really squash this promo!” Welcome back, Late November. And, speaking of menu items we missed, the Eggnog Shake had been forgotten in 2013 and we weren’t going to let that happen again. So, in December, we brought back our beloved Eggnog Shake (sorry though, no rum). We also re-vamped our Naughty or Nice promotion, this time offering our guests a chance to be naughty with scratch-off card prizes with every $25 gift card purchase. Or, they could choose to be nice and we would make a donation to Cradles to Crayons (or, in Burlington, VT, to King Street Center).
Try as we might, we just couldn’t seem to find our footing in the DC market. So after a little over two years, we officially closed our DC and Bethesda locations. It was a very tough decision, with a lot of reasons behind it, and we were sad to leave those communities. But it was time to focus on our roots in New England.
2014 was a big one for us, and we had big plans for 2015 too. We already had some fun planned for January but we just couldn’t tell our guests about it just yet. We thank you, thank you very much, for your patience 😉 (Get it? Thank you very much? No? Oh well, you’ll find out soon enough…)