Red Robin is trying to rope the pope into a Lenten marketing scheme.
The burger chain has extended an invitation to the pope to eat at Red Robin this Lenten season. If Pope Francis visits a Red Robin locations between Feb. 18 and April 2, the chain promises to serve up the new Wild Pacific Crab Cake Burger for free for the remaining Fridays during Lent, while supplies last.
"Red Robin offers a variety of menu options that fit guests' preferences – even during Lent," Denny Marie Post, Red Robin's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "We're hoping that our invitation catches the Pope's attention."
Red Robin even reached out to the pope on Twitter:
It seems unlikely that Pope Francis will make it to any of Red Robin's 500 locations across the U.S. and Canada this year, as His Holiness's schedule indicates that he will primarily be in Vatican City and Rome in the coming weeks. However, reaching out to the pope is a clever – and unorthodox – way to get the attention of any Catholics searching for meatless fish options in the coming weeks. While it's common for restaurant chains to launch fish-based menu items during Lent, such as Arby's limited-time-only fish sandwiches and Burger King's new Spicy Big Fish Sandwich, this is likely the first time a chain has attempted to involve the leader of the Catholic Church.
Of course, a more pope-approved move may be to offer up free burgers for those in need regardless of whether he dines at a Red Robin:
We who are Christians, members of God’s family, are called to go out to the needy and to serve them.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 18, 2015
In other Red Robin news, the chain announced last week that it is rolling out tabletop tablets at restaurants across the U.S. in late 2015. Despite the recent religious marketing, these won't be Old Testament-stone models, but instead 7-inch Ziosk tablets designed to allow customers to pay, order refills, offer feedback and play interactive games from their tables.