Munchie madness: Jack in the Box capitalizing on start of marijuana sales


Jack in the Box, already known for satisfying the late-night cravings of the “munchies” crowd, is partnering with a marijuana-centric digital media company on a new limited-time snack sure to please stoners.

Just in time for California’s launch next week of legal marijuana sales, the San Diego-based fast food company is debuting for one week only its Merry Munchie meal, a carb-laden snack of curly fries, onion rings, tacos, mini churros, crispy chicken strips and a beverage.

Teaming with Jack in the Box is Merry Jane, the cannibis-focused lifestyle company launched in 2015 by Snoop Dog.

The new Munchie combo, priced at $4.20 (a reference to April 20, known as Weed Day), will be available Jan. 18 — 25, although only at three locations in Long Beach. Presumably, the promotion will widen to more outlets if successful. In its announcement, Merry Jane hints at more to come when it refers to its “budding friendship” with Jack in the Box.

Iwona Alter, Jack in the Box’s chief marketing officer, was equally coy about future plans.

“Stay tuned for more details from the partnership with Merry Jane in the new year,” she said in an email.

Bottom line, the chain is trying to maximize the appeal of what already has been a popular brand.

“Jack’s Munchie Meals have been successful for us because of the authenticity of how we speak to our customers,” Alter said in a statement. “This partnership is one more way for us to connect with them — whether you’re at a concert, up late playing video games or pulling an all-nighter. We are about welcoming all of our guests, no matter what they’re craving or why they’re craving it.”

Though it is Snoop Dog’s hometown, Long Beach may not have been the wisest choice for launching the promotion, considering that the city currently has a 180-day moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana.

Representatives of Merry Jane declined to be interviewed about their new partnership, but in a statement, company chief operations officer Scott Chung said that its involvement with the Merry Munchie Meal “is the perfect way to acknowledge the cannabis culture in our shared home state of California.”

Alter stressed that the Long Beach offer is only “a short-term, hyper localized offering to a very niche audience of the brand.”

It’s not surprising that Jack in the Box would gravitate to a weed-friendly promotion. Its humorous 2014 TV ads marketing the chain’s Munchie Meals quickly came to be known as “stoner commercials.”

There’s a video-game-playing young man slumped on his couch as Jack suggests grabbing some late-night Munchie Meals.

In another, a clearly stoned young woman on a bean bag chair, a lava lamp bubbling in the background, asks Jack if he’d rather have “spoons for hands or elbows for ears.” Neither, says Jack. He’d rather have food, as in a Munchie Meal.

San Diego restaurant consultant John Gordon said it makes sense that Jack in the Box would test a promotion with a demographic it already has a relationship with.

“They’re trying to speak to a certain part of the population to reach customers they already have and users they would like to have,” Gordon said. “It’s your late at night, drive-through customers, probably younger.

“They could have done it in three stores in Pacific Beach or Ocean Beach. “This is a field test, just to see what happens. I commend them for doing this. Fast food has so much competition. You have to start somewhere and see if something works.”

A regional fast food chain with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam, Jack in the Box announced earlier this month it was selling its struggling Mexican fast-casual brand Qdoba to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for approximately $305 million.


(619) 293-2251

Twitter: @loriweisberg