Phil Friedman, chief executive of McAlister’s Deli, loved the results of last summer’s Free Tea Day, when the 300-unit fast-casual chain gave away more than 150,000 servings of its famous sweet tea. Yet while the 15-percent year-over-year increase in that day’s sales made for a memorable promotion, Friedman said he hopes that the chain’s fans recall more than just the “free” part of the day.“I don’t want McAlister’s to be known as where you get stuff for free, but when we ...

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