U.S. Food Truck Operations

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Part
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Food Truck/Pop-Up Case Studies

Introduction

Wendy's and Arby's have each managed successful pop-ups. In each case, these companies leveraged their unique advantages to achieve their goals. Both companies used major events to catapult their product into the spotlight. Wendy's took a more structured approach, taking advantage of the X Games to advertise their new Made-to-Crave burgers across the ESPN network, while Arby's piggybacked on a seemingly nonsensical viral sensation with surprisingly positive results.

Wendy's Ski Thru: Winter X Games Aspen 2019

Brand Overview

  • Wendy's fresh, never frozen burgers are their most well-known selling point.
  • With 6,711 restaurants reported open by end of last fiscal year, the brand wields massive reach.
  • They are the world’s third largest hamburger sandwich segment QSR.

Pop-up Description

  • At Winter X Games Aspen 2019, Wendy's hosted a pop-up restaurant called Ski Thru for visitors to sample the new Made-to-Crave burgers.
  • In addition to the food, the "mid-mountain oasis" included a green-screen experience called Pose Like a Pro for visitors to wear Wendy's snow gear and take photos.

Event Preparation

  • X Games host Jack Mitrani ran an advertisement for Ski Thru on the X Games Facebook page.
  • Wendy's also backed an event for the games, the "Knuckle Huck."

Result

  • Approximately 117,000 people attend the Winter X games 2019. From that population, Wendy's achieved 29,615 on-site engagements and 10,692 samples served.
  • They also reported 2.3 million organic Twitter impressions.
  • As X Games are owned by ESPN, the event also enjoyed exposure on the ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC channels.

Arby's Area 51 Food Truck

Brand Overview

Pop-Up Description

  • On September 19, 2019, Arby's sent a food truck offering both samples of the new menu items: The "E.T. Slider," "Unidentified Frying Objects," and "Galaxy Shake," to the "Storm Area 51 Basecamp."
  • Merchandise including Arby's T-shirts was also available.

Event Preparation

  • On July 25, 2019, Arby's official Twitter page reported they would be at Area 51 with a special menu. They would be debuting their new menu with themed options.
  • This was due to a viral event, wherein a Facebook page recommending users storm Area 51 on September 19, 2019, received considerable attention.
  • This was later organized into a movement, who referred to themselves as "Stormers." Approximately 2,100,000 people reported they were "going," and 1,500,000 more reported they were "interested."
  • While the event's creator pulled out after overtures from the Air Force got out of hand, online enthusiasm for the event continued. A legitimate version later dubbed "Alienstock" appeared on legal property and held an event on September 19, 2019.

Result

  • According to local news, Arby's distributed 1,500 samples of the new menu to "Stormers," launching their new menu.
  • The initial tweets reporting the food truck and the new menu received approximately 2,500 likes each and several hundred retweets.

Conclusion

In both cases, when large companies decided to use pop-ups or food trucks, it was a. to jump-start a new menu item and b. piggybacked onto a larger event. Food trucks and pop-ups, as marketing tools, are best used in conjunction with a larger movement, such as a sports event or even, as Arby's demonstrated, a viral social movement.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • ""29,615 onsite engagements" "
  • ""10,692 Made-to-Crave burgers and Frostys sampled." "
  • ""2.3 million organic Twitter impressions""
Quotes
  • "Restaurants open at end of period 2018: 6,711" -page 6"
  • "Wendy’s competitive position is differentiated by a focus on quality, its use of fresh, never frozen ground beef" -page 8"
Quotes
  • "Wendy’s is all about serving fresh-never-frozen beef. They took this promise to the extreme at the 2019 Winter X Games for the launch of their new Made-to-Crave burgers. How? By creating a Ski Thru, pop-restaurant 9,000 ft. high in the Rockies. Visitors noshed on fresh beef burgers while they hit the frozen slopes. The mid-mountain oasis also included Pose Like A Pro, a green-screen photo experience where visitors strapped on Wendy’s snow gear to get some “fresh air” with their “fresh beef.” Influencers like X Games host Jack Mitrani and ESPN live broadcasters helped spread the word."
Quotes
  • "In 2019, total Winter X Games attendance was 117,000"
Quotes
  • "...While I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the X Games set another consecutive attendance record for 2019 (attendance was recorded at 119,000 in 2018 and 110,000 in 2017)..."
Quotes
  • "Frito-Lay North America 'Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, FLNA makes, markets, distributes and sells branded snack foods. These foods include branded dips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, Doritos tortilla chips, Fritos corn chips, Lay’s potato chips, Ruffles potato chips and Tostitos tortilla chips. FLNA’s branded products are sold to independent distributors and retailers. In addition, FLNA’s joint venture with Strauss Group makes, markets, distributes and sells Sabra refrigerated dips and spreads.' " -page 3"