Chili’s releases coupons, ad campaign centered around Rotnofsky-Mandalapu win

Samantha Ketterer

Over the course of their campaign to lead Student Government, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu had several joking goals, including renaming the West Mall the South Mall, reducing the hours the Perry-Castañeda library is open and bringing a Chili’s Grill & Bar to campus, just to name a few. 

A few weeks into their term, the West Mall still faces west, and the library has remained open — but when it comes to Chili’s, the duo have actually made some progress.

Although Chili’s hasn’t established a restaurant at UT, the sit-down food chain is offering a coupon to UT students specifically in honor of the Rotnofsky-Mandalapu win.  

“After learning they landed the top positions, we knew we had to do something special for those hungry Longhorns who wanted to bring a Chili’s restaurant to campus,” a Chili’s spokesperson said. “To celebrate the win, we put together an exclusive offer, so all UT students could raise a chip to the new student body president and vice president.”

That’s meant to be taken literally — the coupon offers UT students free chips and salsa, guacamole or queso if they purchase an adult-sized entrée.

“[Chili’s is] really excited that we included them in our playful platform during the campaign,” Rotnofsky, a Plan II and linguistics junior, said. “Students seem like they love it.”

Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Rotnofsky said he’s seen a lot of feedback from students about the coupon.

“On the Facebook post that we made, a lot of people were tagging their friends in what seem like invites to go to Chili’s,” Rotnofsky said. “I’ve been getting a lot of Snapchats and texts of things of people who are at Chili’s using the coupon.”

Chili’s also started an ad campaign about the coupon. They purchased sponsored advertisements on Facebook, with slogans such as, “Your new student government promised you Chili’s & they delivered. Sort of.” 

Journalism junior Karla Martinez said she’s enjoyed seeing Chili’s’ interaction with the alliance. Following Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s win, Chili’s congratulated the two on their Facebook page.

“I was definitely impressed by the way that Chili’s responded to the RotMan campaign,” Martinez said. “I didn’t think [Chili’s] would do anything.”

Other Texas universities, including Baylor University and UT-San Antonio, have a Chili’s-to-go on their campuses. Mandalapu said there are no current plans to bring an actual Chili’s to UT. 

“Chili’s embodies the American spirit,” Mandalapu said. “It’s universal in America. We really just joke about it. … There are a lot more issues that are pertinent on campus to address, but, in our spare time, we’d love to make something happen.” 

Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff