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Even a free lunch has a price

Tattoo for food pays off for San Francisco restaurant

April 17, 1999
Web posted at: 8:25 a.m. EDT (1225 GMT)

From Correspondent Don Knapp

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- Lunch with a beer runs between $7 and $10 at Casa Sanchez, a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. But for Guido Brenner lunch is free today and every day for the rest of his life. The key to his free lunch? A tattoo.

Casa Sanchez has promised free lunches for life to anyone who has the restaurant's logo permanently tattooed on his or her body.

The restaurant doesn't stipulate where the tattoo must be. The logo, designed by a family relative 35 years ago, is a cartoon -- Jimmy the Corn Man, a sombrero-wearing mariachi boy riding a corncob.

So many people wanted in on the free-lunch-for-life tattoo deal that the restaurant decided to limit the number of participants to 50. With 40 names already on the list, there's room for just 10 more. The restaurant owners screen out those they think will eat too much.

Martha Aranda, a co-owner of Casa Sanchez, says business has picked up as a result of the promotion.

"It was going kind of slow, going lower, lower. Then it started going high up. So now we're high up, again," Aranda says.

Brenner had his tattoo placed in his arm pit, it was one of the few places on his body without a tattoo.

"It's a different style," he says of the tattoo. "But I get free lunch out of the deal, so, I can't knock it."

The free-lunch-for-life deal turned out to be exactly what Greg Tietz was looking for.

"I noticed their advertisement that said tattoo me on your body and get free lunch for life, and I said that's the tattoo that's been seeking me out this whole time," Tietz says.

Bob Woodrum's tattoo hasn't been paying off quite as planned. He doesn't eat in a restaurant a lot and that has his friends questioning his tattoo decision. "A lot of 'em say I'm a moron because I never eat here," Woodrum says.

Customer Joe Sacco looks at the $80 he spent to get the logo put on his leg as a good investment. "I kind of think of it as an eighty-dollar life-time insurance policy," he says.


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