Chipotle Is Now Giving Away Free Booze To Lure Back Customers

In a bid to woo its customers back after a string of foodborne-illness outbreaks in 2015, Chipotle has decided a new tactic is in order: getting its patrons drunk.

The fast-casual chain is now offering discounted or free alcoholic beverages as part of a new “Happy Four Hours” promotion, reports CNBC. The promo includes 2-for-1 and half-price deals on alcoholic drinks from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. through September.

Did you even know that Chipotle served alcoholic beverages, like margaritas and beer? No? Well, that’s probably because it sort of doesn’t. The deals are only valid at around 300 of Chipotle’s booze-serving locations in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Chicago, according to the company’s happy hour website.

“We know that [limited-service] restaurants do well at breakfast and lunch, but dinner tends to be more of a place for full-service restaurants to succeed," Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, told CNBC. "With the younger generation, who is looking for affordable beverages, limited-service can be that place.”

"If this promotion proves to be a success, we see the potential for it to be offered in other parts of the U.S. and perhaps throughout more of the year," added Mark Kalinowksi, an analyst for Nomura.

Admittedly, half-price or buy-one-get-one margaritas sounds like a blissful pairing with Chipotle’s standard fare -- but will it be enough to restore the embattled fast-casual burrito chain to its former glory?

"Unfortunately, I think only time is going to help them with the sales hole," Tristano concluded. "I think consumers are very forgiving, but it's going to take more time.”