Play the millennials’ game
Fiesta’s recent digital efforts opened the data gates. The My Pollo loyalty program launched in December and had more than 130,000 members by May.
The company also features north of 534,000 customers in its email club, which functions essentially the same as its app. Pollo Tropical promoted the platform with digital ads, social media, e-club mailings, in-restaurant POP displays, and sign-ups at local-store marketing events. Average check is higher with members than non-members, but it also allows the company, perhaps more notably, “the opportunity to learn more about what our guests want and better target our marketing efforts by accumulating and analyzing customer purchasing data and habits,” Stockinger said.
And back to the perception note, Fiesta observed an interesting reality from the results. Millennials rated the brand higher than non-millennials, in regards to net promoter scores, at both brands. “That is a significant opportunity to any restaurant leader,” Stockinger said. “Now we just have to go out and get those millennials to try us.”
Fiesta is ratcheting up social media and investing more ad dollars into digital to get there. It’s putting together programs that identify markets to target and circle specific guests segments within those DMAs.
“It’s not as much drive off of TV,” Stockinger said, adding Fiesta is still using the medium. “It’s bringing that social and digital platform. Basically, what our competitors are doing. But to us, we feel a huge opportunity in both brands [with] millennials.”
Another area is delivery. At Pollo Tropical, the opportunity is still in its infancy. The company announced a partnership with DoorDash just this past February. At launch, the service reached all company locations.
Stockinger said it’s currently representing only 2–2.5 percent of total sales, though. In time, he expects it to mix 10–15 percent, like the brand’s competitors, which would make the cost equation a more appealing one.
It’s been expensive to date, Stockinger added, and impacted the company’s margins negatively, despite the lower figures. But it’s still an early innings project.
“I still believe that, especially with the millennials, this is what you have to do,” Stockinger said. “This is part of their lifestyle. So if you want to operate in this arena, you have to play the game.”