Chipotle Tries the Oldest Trick in the Book to Make Friends: Free Booze
Though I don’t feel like many people go to Chipotle to get hammered (I’ve never gotten hammered there, and I’ve gotten hammered everywhere), the fact that the burrito chain is one of the few national fast food chains to serve booze has always been a quiet selling point. (A selling point Taco Bell has seemingly been trying to emulate.)
And yet, while the company has gone through some contamination and PR nightmares, Chipotle hasn’t done much to lean on its selection of Mexican beers and house-made margaritas to try to get more customers through the door. Until now.
As if suddenly realizing, Hey, we have booze and people like booze, Chipotle has recently announced a “Happy Four Hours” promotion in seven states and the city of Chicago. At about 300 participating locations in Iowa (except Iowa City), Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and the city of Chicago, throughout the months of August and September Chipotle will be offering drink promotions between the hours of 4pm and 8pm.
Depending on the state, the promotion takes on a variety of forms. Some states “get half off ‘adult’ beverages.” Others “get two margaritas or beers for the price of one.” Meanwhile, a couple states are only offering two-for-one beers. Additionally, when the deals are available differs by state, as well. Some states will have them every day, others only on Thursdays. Regardless of those details, however, all of the deals can only be taken advantage of one time per person per day – so don’t plan on making Chipotle your new Thursday night party spot, no matter how good the music happens to be.
For those outside the Midwest wondering when cheapo margaritas will be coming to their local Chipotle, spokesman Chris Arnold told Eater that these kinds of promotions tend to be at least somewhat regional. “There are limitations on where you can do promotions like this based on liquor laws and the like,” he said. “So it's possible that we'd do it elsewhere, but always within the limits of various liquor laws.”
Of course, by this point, we all know why Chipotle is trying this. The question becomes will it work any better than anything else they’ve tried: the free burritos, the free guac, the intense new loyalty program? Well, I can’t imagine cheap booze preventing people from wanting to go to Chipotle. Plus, added bonus, alcohol kills germs. Maybe if Chipotle had given away more margaritas, we wouldn’t be here to begin with.