The “kids eat free” promotion at Pasta Waraku


Last night (yes, this was not a scheduled post), after a really hectic day at work, I left office at 7pm and Z was starving. I felt really bad for making everyone wait for me and asked Z to suggest where to eat. He wanted to eat white pasta which meant cream based pasta.

I was really brain dead at the point and somehow was not able to toss up more options. We thought of dining near home and ended up going to Square 2’s Pasta Waraku.

We ordered 2 main courses to share within the family. I noticed that there was a thick toast alike dessert with ice cream and was reminded of the honey toast we saw in Seoul. Mr H said that looked pretty good and we should order for dessert later.

While waiting to order, I noticed the above sign. I told Mr H if that sign meant that we would get a free Hanito (a double thick toast alike dessert with honey and ice cream). We were not sure if that was applicable for a Friday night or if there was minimum spending or anything. Most “kids eat free” promotion were pretty straightforward. There was no fine prints.

The waitress said that it was only free if we bought one Hanito. Didn’t that make it a buy one get one free promotion?

As a marketing professional, I really was aghast by either the poor use of marketing message or the blatant fact that the staff was so ill-informed. I asked to speak with the manager who was apparently the person who enforced the buy one get one free promotion.

I explained the essence of what “kids eat free” promotion meant and he stood by the fact that he was told to give out the free Hanito only with purchase of one Hanito. The free Hanito as described by Waraku’s invited blogger was to be made by the child. He even explained that the one we paid for would be made by the kitchen.

I told the restaurant manager if that was the case, the marketing promotion had been poorly written and I would like to give feedback to his marketing team. I would never let my staff allow such a poorly scripted promotion out of the door, as do many marketers.

Honestly, had I ordered one Hanito and received the free Hanito, we would never be able to finish both Hanitos. It would be over-ordering. We were not hard up for the free Hanito but it did not sit very well with my principles.

I got the email of Waraku’s marketing person and penned my feedback across. The person in charge was very prompt in responding! She replied my email this morning and clarified that there was no need to buy one Hanito in order to receive to free Hanito! As long as you had a child under 14, the Hanito was complimentary for the child.

She took down details and called me in the afternoon to apologize for the miscommunication. In any case, I appreciated her response.

Meanwhile, my dear friends, please enjoy the “kids eat free” Hanito at the 3 outlets of Pasta Waraku. There was no other conditions apart from the fact that your child must be below 14 and limited to one per table.

I felt really bad for families who had been misled into buying one Hanito to get the free Hanito prior to this too. The promotion had only just started in June.

Details of the Hanito by Waraku’s invited blogger via

Anyhow, I was glad that we cleared the air.

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