Taking advantage of the legalization of marijuana in California in 2018, Jack in the Box is testing a new late-night meal package in Long Beach that’s aimed at satisfying post-pot cravings.
It is partnering with Merry Jane, digital media company supported by Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg, to present a new menu offering, the MERRY Munchie Meal, aimed squarely at cannabis enthusiasts. The San Diego-based company will become the first national restaurant chain to explicitly target the emerging market of legal marijuana.
The new meal will be available Jan. 18 to 25 at three Long Beach locations for the oh-so-clever price of $4.20:
- 5601 Pacific Coast Highway
- 3032 Palo Verde Ave.
- 652 Atlantic Ave.
As of 6 a.m. Jan. 1, California will become the fifth state to allow licensed shops to sell marijuana to anyone with an ID showing they’re 21 and older — just like buying alcohol from a bar or liquor store. That means doctor’s recommendations for medical marijuana will no longer be required to make a purchase in these shops.
The implication of the new campaign is that Jack in the Box, which has indirectly marketed its late-night meals to so-called stoners, hopes to gain a whole new set of consumers who are giving recreational smoking a shot for the first time.
The move makes sense to those who know the company. It’s no secret that Jack in the Box has long been popular with people who are … well, let’s just say in an altered state.
“Drunk and/or high people love the greasy, soggy, semi-disgusting mess that is the Jack in the Box taco — and the company is more than happy to appeal to these inebriated customers,” Business Insider claimed in a January 2017 article about the phenomenon.
The numbers seem to back up that claim (though, jeez, BI is a little hard on the product). Foursquare, a company that measures consumer habits, reports that 17 percent of Jack in the Box’s customers drop in to one of the chain’s 2,200 cheery U.S. restaurants between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. That’s the second highest percentage of late-night visits in the industry, bested only by White Castle, which has long been known (and celebrated by Hollywood) as the preferred munchies destination for stoners.
Jack in the Box said the MERRY Munchie Meal includes some of the chain’s most crave-able menu items all in one box: Halfsies (½ curly fries and ½ onion rings) two tacos, five mini churros, 3 crispy chicken strips and a small drink. The price is 80 cents less than a rival value menu offered by Irvine-based Taco Bell.
“Launching the MERRY Munchie Meal is the perfect way to acknowledge the cannabis culture in our shared home state of California,” Scott Chung, Chief Operations Officer at MERRY JANE, said in a statement.
Jack in the Box could use a boost as its biggest rival, McDonald’s, has seen sales surge. The world’s biggest burger chain has stepped up foot traffic with remodeled stores, all-day breakfast and increased product innovation.
Some in the cannabis industry see Jack in the Box’s marketing strategy as part of a larger, inevitable trend.
“I don’t think it’s just corporate America that’s is becoming more comfortable with marijuana — America is becoming more comfortable,” said Daniel Yi, vice president for corporate communications at MedMen, one of the largest companies in the emerging commercial marijuana industry. “All the numbers indicate that. Polls show record numbers of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana. Now we have 29 states with legalized cannabis. The trend is clearly there.”
Though Yi hopes other companies will make more serious overtures to the cannabis industry, he understands the logic of Jack in the Box’s lighthearted approach.
“It makes sense for Jack in the Box to be tongue in cheek. That’s their style. There’s space for everyone to play in this new world.”
Staff writer Brooke Edwards Staggs contributed to this report.
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