OPINIONMarketing

April 20 gives restaurants a new meaning for 'in the weeds'

Marketing Bites: As recreational marijuana is legalized in more states and consumers relax their attitudes around the drug, restaurants large and small are having some fun on 4-20, widely considered a national day of pot celebration.
Wingstop Hot Box
Wingstop is bringing back its Wingstop Hot Box for April 20 munchies. | Photo courtesy: Winsgtop.
Marketing Bites

Brands hopping on popular trends can be, as the kids say, cringe.

So, I’ve watched with some amusement the growth of 4-20 restaurant promotions over the last half dozen years or so as recreational marijuana usage has become more mainstream around the country.

It used to just be the “edgy” concepts like &pizza, Cheba Hut and Mellow Mushroom getting in on the munchie-fueled action on April 20, widely considered a national pot-consumers’ holiday. But now we’re seeing weed-related promos at restaurant brands large and small.

Here’s just a sampling of the 4-20 offerings lighting up menus this month:

Velvet Taco is serving the 420 Blazin’ taco through Tuesday. It’s an unhinged mix of mac & cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos chicken tenders, red chile aioli and Fruity Pebbles (because of course) cradled in a flour tortilla.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar is featuring the Wake & Bake Bowl and a Creamsicle Shake for the munchie-filled holiday. The bowl is packed with chipperbec fries seasoned with taco spice and drizzled with queso, salsa verde and jalapeno ranch, topped with chopped bacon, pickled jalapenos, cilantro and a sunnyside up pasture-raised egg.

Wingstop claims to be “taking munchies to new highs” in bringing back its Wingstop Hot Box, featuring T.H.C (The Hot Chili) Rub that blends chili peppers with a secret herb-and-spice mix. But the wing chain makes sure to point out in its press release that, “T.H.C (The Hot Chili) Rub contains no cannabis, THC or cannabis derivatives.” Maybe next year …

Insomnia Cookies is offering $4.20 off 12-packs of cookies with ordering code HAPPY420 as well as a free classic cookie in-store from Friday through Sunday with a $5 purchase when you show the Insomnia Cookies App. Customers who bring in a canned, packaged or sealed food item to donate can also receive a free cookie.

&pizza, perhaps unsurprisingly, is going full-blaze for 4-20 with its Daze of Stonemas deals. All of the offers are exclusive to the pizza brand’s loyalty program, the Dead Presidents Club. The Washington, D.C.-based chain debuted a new Four for $20 Munchies Bundle that includes a choice of pizza, one order of knots, one drink and one dessert. Other flash deals during the week have included 42% off any pizza, $4.20 off a pizza and $4.20 garlic knots. On the “holiday” itself, customers can score $4.20 pizzas all day, along with some free &pizza rolling papers to continue the party at home.

“At &pizza, we recognize that our customers crave experiences that are not only enjoyable but also deeply personal and authentic,” Patrick Barry, the chain’s SVP of marketing, said in a statement.

Through Saturday, Popeyes customers who order off the Munchies Menu can pick up a Chicken Sandwich (Classic, Spicy, Blackened or Spicy Blackened) for $4.20. “No, you’re not trippin’, our Chicken Sandwich really is $4.20 for the rest of the week,” the chain said in an Instagram post announcing the deal.

On 4-20, Smashburger will sell four Classic Smash Singles for $20.

Fatburger said it is taking a “blunt approach” to the day this year, with the return of its $4.20 Original Fatburger

For those who are “feeling extra munchy,” Jimmy John’s is rolling out the Deliciously Dope Dime Bag, packed with a sandwich loaded with ham, provolone, jalapeno ranch, crispy jalapenos, pickles, oregano, basil, lettuce, tomato and mayo on French bread, served with chips, brownie and a pickle spear.

“Toasted” sub chain Cheba Hut, which calls itself the “first marijiuana-themed sandwich joint,” has joined forces with rap group Cypress Hill to celebrate the big day—and beyond. Until June 30, the sandwich chain is selling co-branded swag with the rappers. On April 20, all Nug-sized sandwiches will sell for $4.20. They’ll come with a Cheba Hut frisbee, which, the company said, “can be used to play catch with some buds or as a rolling tray for another kind of bud.”

As these 4-20 promos expand, there’s just one question: Won’t restaurant marketers eventually run out of weed-related puns?

 

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