Talk about bad timing (and bad most everything else). Really, how does this happen: The Indianapolis Star reports this morning that thousands of Indy residents are finding in their mailboxes this week a promotional flier announcing that Steak n Shake is "a proud sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys." That'll be quite the surprise to folks living in Indianapolis, since, ya know, it's the hometown of the hamburger chain. But John Russell at the Indy Star writes that the company "inadvertently sent a mailer promoting its 'Cowboys side-by-side milkshake' to more than 600,000 Indianapolis residents." And, like, wow, don't the Cowboys play the Indianapolis Colts this weekend at Texas Stadium? Kind of a kick in the hometown nuts, wouldn't you say?
Of course, Steak n Shake has plenty of restaurants in Texas: 17 total (all in North Texas), three in Dallas proper. But that's nothing compared to how many joints it has in Indiana; there are 20 in Indy alone. Hence the heartfelt apology yesterday from Steak n Steak officials, who are offering their slighted Indy customers free shakes on Sunday, since, apparently, a win over the Cowboys won't be enough to heal their broken, clogged hearts.
"We feel just terrible," said Steven Schiller, chief marketing officer for the chain told the paper. "We sponsor only two teams. They just happened to be playing each other this weekend. We obviously messed up, and we hope Colts fans will be understanding." And it's not like they did it on purpose: Steak n Shake blames its direct-mail vendor for what the newspaper up there calls a "public-relations pickle." Shake me. --Robert Wilonsky
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