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I missed the free Dirty Sanchez?

by Emily O'Shaughnessy

A taqueria in Houston that gave out free tacos at lunch today caught my eye, as it was a nice follow up to my recent post titled 6 Reasons Giving Away Free Stuff Can Work For Your Small Business.

Earlier today, Torchy’s Tacos gave away free “Dirty Sanchez” tacos at lunchtime in response to an unfavorable review in the Houston Chronicle’s 29-95’s. In it, reviewer Allison Cook gave Torchy’s NO STARS in her review, describing rude employees and disappointing food. That kind of bad PR has got to be a restaurant owner’s worst nightmare. But the owner didn’t ignore it, and replied to Cook the very next day.

There is something I like about “Torchy’s” heartfelt response. He’s obviously angry and upset about the review, but his commitment to the restaurant, the employees, the food and most of all the customers is evident in his rant. His devotion shines through his frustration, and frankly it’s refreshing to hear someone so passionate and devoted to his business. Torchy believes in his products so much that he was willing to put his money were his mouth is. He offered free tacos to anyone that brought in a copy of the review during lunchtime today. I know what you’re thinking because it’s the same thing I was thinking: “Damn, I missed it!” But plenty of other people didn’t miss it – you can check out some photos from today here.

Torchy’s reason for giving away something free was #2 on my list:  Encourages people to try your products/service/experience risk free. In this instance, Torchy’s invited people to judge their food for themselves, not take one reviewers word for it. There was no obligation, no risk. Just a strong belief in their food and a commitment to their customers.

It’s too early too tell how today’s giveaway will work in the long run, but my guess is it gained Torchy’s Tacos plenty of new customers. Next time I’m in the area I’ll make a point to stop by myself. And I’ll happily pay full price.

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