Waukesha-based George Webb Restaurants handed out an estimated 90,000 free hamburgers on Thursday, Oct. 18, as part of its iconic "12 in a row" promotion, the company said.
Thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers' recent 12-game winning streak, patrons could grab a free burger--one per person-- from 2 to 6 p.m. at any of the 30 George Webb locations throughout the Milwaukee area.
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This year was the 24-hour diner's second time offering the promotion, after first predicting a 12-game winning streak in the 1940s for the then minor league Milwaukee Brewers. The first time, which was in 1987 when the team collected 13 straight wins to start the season, George Webb dished out 170,000 free burgers.
Although the company gave out about half that amount the second time around, it had been prepared to serve up to 200,000 burgers, said Ryan Stamm, vice president at George Webb.
The lower number may be explained by the fact that yesterday's promotion was limited to four hours. But to make up for that, George Webb also handed out vouchers, good for one free burger from Oct. 19 through Oct. 31. The company gave away a total of 100,000 vouchers throughout the week, Stamm said.
"We wanted to ease the pressure on the restaurants, but we wanted to give everyone a chance to get a burger if they wanted one," he said about the vouchers.
Each restaurant likely gave out about 3,000 burgers throughout the afternoon, Stamm said.
Some locations, including ones on Oakland and Locust in Shorewood and 61st and Bluemound in Wauwatosa, were busier than others, and the crowd size varied throughout the 4-hour promotion, Stamm said. But the lines were typically the longest between 4 and 6 as customers ended their workdays.
George Webb's location at 7227 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis had 100 people in line at 2 p.m. and handed out almost 1,000 in the first hour, Oscar Perez, the restaurant's operations manager said.
"One thing that was cool was that people were so happy that they got that burger," Stamm said. "And It wasn't just that they got a burger, they got some history too."
See more from WISN-TV Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.