Beleaguered burrito chain Chipotle is so thirsty for new customers its now hoping patrons could go for a drink, too. While in recent months the company has tried to win the public back with free burritos and new meat options following an E. coli outbreak last year, certain Midwestern locations are now offering free and cheap booze in the hopes of enticing customers to return.
Although the drink deals vary slightly depending on the location, eight states are participating in the latest offer. Chipotle restaurants in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin will offer either half-price drinks or two-for-one specials on beer and margaritas.
Chris Arnold, a spokesperson for the company, said the promotion was limited to select states at the moment due to local happy hour restrictions.
"There are limitations on where you can do promotions like this based on liquor laws and the like," he told Eater. "So it's possible that we'd do it elsewhere, but always within the limits of various liquor laws."
Chipotle's happy hours are scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. In most states the deal is available every day, but in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin the promotion only runs on Thursdays thanks to local happy hour laws.
Illinois in particular only reinstated happy hours in July of 2015, and even then it's only allowed four hours a day and a total of 15 hours a week. The reason behind the state's previous ban on drinking specials stemmed from the desire to curb binge drinking habits after work.
Besides this regional promotion, Chipotle also rolled out a new rewards program in July called "Chiptopia." Under the new system, the more burritos customers eat, the more free burritos they can earn. The company even upped the ante by offering new enrollees the chance to win a year's worth of free burritos.
As for the happy hour, the freeze booze has a shorter expiration date, with the promotion only running through September.