High Steaks Game Costs Ruth's Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor

The Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurant in Ann Arbor bit off more than they could chew and left customers disgruntled with their football-based promotion.

Published Oct 9, 2016

It's become more and more commonly lately for restaurant chains to offer promotions involving discounted or free food tied to the outcome of sporting events. In that vein, an outlet of the Ruth's Chris Steak House chain in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced a "Big Score" promotion on Facebook starting the week of 7 October 2016, advertising that customers would receive a percentage off their total food bill equal to the final winning point differential in the latest University of Michigan football game.

In other words, if the Michigan Wolverines football team were to win a given week's game by 15 points, throughout that week the steakhouse's customers would receive a 15% discount on their bills:


Sounded good in theory, but unfortunately for the Ruth's Chris in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, 8 October 2016, Michigan trounced Rutgers by a score of 78-0 — meaning the steakhouse was on the hook to customers for a whopping 78% discount during the upcoming week.

Ah, but Ruth's Chris quickly "clarified" — and edited their Facebook post to state — that the promotion was capped at 50%, excluded alcohol, and required purchase of an entree:

Apologies the discount cap at 50% was not clear in this initial post. This amazing promotion was launched with a cap of "up to 50% off" the food portion of the bill and we've updated this post to reflect that.


The restaurant also announced by mid-day on Sunday that they were booked up solid through the rest of the week:

Naturally this turn of events elicited many disgruntled (and some threatening) comments on the Facebook page for the Ruth's Chris in Ann Arbor:

Their promo mouth was bigger than what the could deliver. If anyone sued over false advertising or changing terms afterwards, they would likely win. You can't change terms afterwards when it doesn't go your way. What you SHOULD do is think promotion rules out carefully beforehand, hopefully with a lawyer.

The catches are that it was capped at 50%, ends Thursday (10/13), AND they are FULLY BOOKED ... how convenient. Just another empty come-on to bring customers in.

How do we know they are fully booked? And how do we know that the bookings aren't all employees, friends and family who will not attend or use the discount?

Hey, you originally posted it WITHOUT the 50% discount cap. That's against Truth In Advertising laws.

I've been in the restaurant business for 22 as a chef and manager. You guys are now claiming you are booked AND are violating law. Be prepared for lawsuits aplenty.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as back in 1994.

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