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El Torito expands Happy Hour (better prices, longer hours)

From the OC Register (

Starting this week, El Torito is expanding the time of its Happy Hour, adding new bar foods and dropping the Happy Hour prices on some of the chain?s most popular bar drinks, including the margarita. (see list of new foods, below)

The expanded El Torito Happy Hour program now offers one base price ($3) for four alcoholic beverages: Original gold margaritas, domestic beer, well drinks and wine.  Depending on your drink, the new uniform price is about a $1 discount from the old happy hour price.

For example, the old Happy Hour prices for the house and fruit margaritas were  $3.95 and $4.25, respectively.  House wine used to cost $3.50.

Diners also have two extra hours to take advantage of the new discounted prices.

The new El Torito Happy Hour is from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Monday through Friday in the cantina only. Previously, Happy Hour was held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The fiesta platter is $7.99 during Happy Hour. That's $4 off.

Real Mex Marketing Director Lowell Petrie said the revamped Happy Hour program was tested in 11 stores for two months to see if the restaurants could draw bigger crowds in the cantina.

Local restaurants in Irvine, Orange, Cypress, Tustin, Placentia and Laguna Hills took part in the pilot program.

?We?ve got big bars. Since we have the capacity, we wanted to have more people so we thought $3 was a good, attractive price,? said Petrie, adding that most cantinas can seat 75 to 100 customers. ?We were very pleased with the results.?

He declined to release sales or volume figures.  However, the foot traffic and sales were clearly good enough to prompt the 67-unit chain to expand the Happy Hour program to its remaining restaurants.

Loyal customers were notified this week via email about the new hours and discounted menu.  In addition, Petrie said the bar menu has been revamped to include new items.

During Happy Hour, the following new items are $2 off regular price:

  • Fajita Sliders (Chicken or Steak served with French fries) ? $3.95
  • Mexico City Flautas (2 Chicken, 2 Beef, 2 Vegetable) ? $4.99
  • Pan-Seared Shrimp ? $4.99
  • Queso Con Chorizo ? $3.99
  • Crispy Fajita Cones (1 Chicken, 1 Steak) ? $3.99
  • The restaurants ?still offer 11 other appetizers at discounts up to $4 from regular price,? Petrie said.Free chips and salsa are also still offered to bar customers. On Taco Tuesday night, tacos are still 99 cents. (El Torito locations)El Torito Grill bar news: This upscale version of El Torito recently reformulated some of the chain?s signature drinks. The Evolutionary Margarita ($7.25) is prepared with a group of more natural, sustainable ingredients;  including organic agave nectar and fresh-squeezed lime juice in lieu of sweet & sour. The house margarita is prepared tableside and made with high-end, Milagro Barrel Select silver tequila. The Supercharged Cadillac Margarita ($7.50) is now prepared with agave nectar and fresh lime juice.


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