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11 May 2022
El Pollo Loco taps power of TikTok
Restaurants & takeawaysDouyin/TikTokLatin America (general region)
El Pollo Loco, the restaurant chain, generated significant demand for the limited-time addition of Mexican shredded beef birrias to its menu with an activation on TikTok, the social-media app.
Birrias have witnessed a surge in popularity among consumers, with food trucks helping drive this outcome.
El Pollo Loco has tapped into this culinary trend by making this item available from mid-March to June 1, 2022.
It implemented a new marketing approach when launching this initiative, with greater expenditure on social channels with more youthful audiences.
“We really felt like [the] birria was going to appeal to a younger customer base, and it was a great opportunity for us to bring younger consumers into the brand,” Larry Roberts, El Pollo Loco’s chief executive, said on an earnings call with investors.
While this program leveraged various channels – including TV, a Snapchat lens and YouTube – the brand cited TikTok as a particular source of marketing impact.
The “#DipNDrip” program involved working with several TikTok influencers to spread the word about El Pollo Loco’s birrias.
It generated over 21 million social-media impressions and thousands of pieces of user-generated content from this program.
More broadly, it helped the brand cross the 125,000-follower mark on TikTok, and push usage of the El Pollo Loco hashtag to more than 120 million on the platform.
The hard numbers
The “soft” rollout of its birrias, supported only by point-of-sale materials in stores, saw the product take “about 1.5%” of the demand mix.
“We then went on TikTok. And that day, that mix went up to 8.5% just by TikTok. So it's a phenomenal platform for us, but it just really caught on,” Roberts said.
“We went on TV the following week. We took it up to the 12.5% mix levels that we saw initially with the product,” he added.
The TikTok takeaway
“You can't just use your common TV advertising and cut it up and put it on there. You really have to create unique content on these platforms.” - Larry Roberts, chief executive, El Pollo Loco.