Saturday, January 1, 2022

El Pollo Loco Commended for Moving Forward with Consumers


Foodservice Solutions® team along with the Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson based in Tacoma, WA have been providing success clues on how to off-set the rising cost of food, beverages, supply chain, technology along with labor cost.

Johnson, has invested his time focusing on the fastest growing undercurrent of change with ever sector of food retail, the grocerant niche, filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that has the ‘halo’ of better-4-you in the minds-eye of the consumer.

While grocery stores and convenience stores have been expanding into everything from pots and pans, candles, lightbulbs, and laundry soap.  Restaurants for the most part seem unwilling to look beyond service one meal to one customer at a time according to Johnson.

There is no doubt that grocery stores now want to sell everything to everyone.  There is no doubt that is not working.  The unintentional consequence has been a blurring of channel relevance for most grocery store banners in the minds-eye of the consumer.  That clearly is not a viable solution however an integrated branded value-added messaging and products can help restaurants garner customer loyalty while building top-line sales and bottom-line profits.

Let’s consider one company that is moving in the right direction, El Pollo Loco who last month launched its first-ever merchandise store, selling branded shirts, totes and even skateboards designed by Latino creators. El Pollo Loco, SVP of Marketing Andy Rebhun, stated, “The online Loco Gifts and Gear shop is a branding opportunity for the fast-casual chain”.

Rebhun continued, “It really is core to our brand, in general, to make an impact in the communities we serve,” “This is something truly unique outside of what we’ve usually done.”

Currently, the items are only available for sale online. But Rebhun said there might be an opportunity to sell some of them inside El Pollo Loco restaurants in the future, much like Starbucks does with its merchandise line. Just think about that.  Yes, that is just what Starbucks does driving-up ticket size, while simultaneously driving incremental dollars to the bottom-line. Every reader of this blog knows that, yet so few branded restaurants have yet to understand the consumer facing brand relevance, or the value to be derived at each location. 

To create this new line, El Pollo Loco reached out to Latino artists such as skateboard designer and muralist David Flores. Flores designed three skateboards, two trucker hats, two t-shirts, a pair of board shorts and a tote bag for the chain.

So, custom lowrider designer, Manny Silva crafted an El Pollo Loco lowrider bike, as well as custom shirts, a hoodie and trucker hat. The La Flamba lowrider bike, which went for $7,500, sold almost immediately, Rehbun said. Members of the chain’s digital rewards program received early access to the online shop.

“We did a pretty wide search, in terms of looking for people who embodied El Pollo Loco’s spirit and Hispanic heritage,” Rebhun said.  

How are you expanding customer relevance while driving top-line sales and incremental bottom-line profits for consumers?  Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales?

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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