Uno Invites You to Last Year's Party

Pizzeria Apologizes for Viral Shop's Foul-Up

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Uno Chicago Grill, the iconic pizza joint where many Midwesterners went on their first dates, sent out a VIP invitation yesterday. Only the first 100 respondents could get a spot, but they had to act impossibly fast because the event was held in December -- of last year. And it was in Chesterfield, Mo.

Uno billed it as an "exclusive party" of "select friends" who would get to taste "select menu items & some fantastic, non-alcoholic beverages." No booze? It couldn't have been much fun anyway.

But the e-mail went out to all 800,000 members of the chain's "Insiders" club.

Uno Senior VP-Marketing Rick Hendrie admitted that the e-mail was a mistake, and that the company is investigating how its viral-marketing shop managed to blast its best customers. He declined to identify the firm.

The original e-mail, which came across as "TEST HTML -- Insider's VIP Party at Chesterfield, Mo.," was simply designed to test the company's ability to send such invitations.

In an effort to make nice, Uno sent out an apology titled "We Messed Up!" and signed by Mr. Hendrie.

"You recently received an e-mail inviting you and a guest to attend a VIP Party at UNO," the e-mail said. "Unfortunately, that invitation was sent in error; we are not currently hosting an event near you. We value your time and apologize for any inconvenience and confusion this has caused."

The company didn't offer an apology discount or coupon (or a "We're sorry" bottle of beer, for that matter).

"I think most people understand this was a mistake, and we apologized sincerely," said Mr. Hendrie, who added that the company has gotten calls "in the dozens" since yesterday's snafu. "We were sorry then, and we're sorry now."