In the cutthroat world of restaurant chains, each company is struggling to keep pace ahead of its competitors by offering various promotions intended to bring in traffic. With Olive Garden recently ending its “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” and Red Lobster’s “Endless Shrimp” also coming to a close, the door is open for the next great restaurant promotion. TGI Friday’s offers “Endless Apps” which have proven to be a marketing success and consumers are eager to learn of the next great opportunity. Chili’s has stepped up to the plate with their latest campaign, “Kids Drink Free.”
Starting on December 4 and running through Christmas Day, any child between the ages of 5 and 18 who is accompanied by a legal guardian will receive one free alcoholic beverage when they order any entree. They can enjoy a Loaded Shirley Temple which is the standard ginger ale and grenadine, but this one is served with a one ounce shot of vodka. The Ragin’ Roy Rogers is a Coca-Cola wth grenadine and an additional shot of Mezcal. For an up charge of one dollar, kids can order the Not a Virgin Anymore Pina Colada or a Let it Go Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri which will be served in a keepsake mug emblazoned with the faces of Elsa (for girls) or Olaf (for boys) from Disney’s animated feature Frozen.
Understandably, some parents are upset about this. Says, Gail T. Totaler of Boise, Idaho, “I just can’t believe that a company like Chili’s would offer my child an alcoholic beverage. That’s crazy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the drinking age is still 21, isn’t it?”
When questioned about this, Chili’s CEO, Wyman T. Roberts released this statement:
We at Chili’s Grill & Bar feel it’s never too early to establish a relationship with our future customers. Today’s Loaded Shirley Temple drinker is tomorrow’s scotch on the rocks drinker and we look forward to serving this customer for years to come. We feel confident in our decision to offer this wonderful promotion to our customers.
When pressed further about the legality of serving alcohol, to a minor, another statement was released:
We at Chili’s Grill & Bar have been accidentally serving minors for years now and we have decided to embrace this action. Cheers!
Not all parents are upset about the promotion. Gary Indiana of Gary, Indiana is looking forward to it. “I usually let my 10-year old have a couple of sips of my beer anyway. Now she can have her own and I won’t have to share. I bet the car ride home will be a lot quieter too since she’s such a lightweight, she’ll probably just pass out.”
Only time will tell if this latest venture will be a win or a loss for the company. Regardless, it is definitely getting people to talk about Chili’s. After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.