Whether it’s from bored employees, inventive customers, or a mixture of both, lots of restaurants accumulate “secret menus” — food items that aren’t on the official menu, but they’ll make for you anyway (if you know how to ask).

People love being in on exclusive information like this and they love to tell their friends about it even more. It’s the kind of customer relationship that you can’t ask for: the bond that’s created when you share a secret.

Secret stuff also let’s you show off your personal side: the goofy, unofficial, willing-to-bend-the-rules side of your company that your customers love to see. For example, did you know that Chipotle will make you a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla? It’s called the Quesarito, and one guy at Fast Company devoted an entire article to it.

Photo by Mark Wilson, Co. Design

But you can do this even if you don’t sell burritos. Try spreading the word about a secret after-hours shopping time or a discount you can get with a secret password. Whatever it is, get your customers in on it and make it a big deal.

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