Food Truck/Pop-Up Case Studies
Three successful brands that have held successful popups are Wendy's, Cheetos, and Taco Bell. Information regarding these pop-ups and results are described below.
WENDY'S 2019 WINTER X GAMES POPUP
- Wendy's is a fast-food restaurant that serves fresh, "Deliciously Different" food. The company has initiatives in food quality, culture, and foster care adoption, and has many economic sustainability goals. The company has franchises with locations in 30 countries.
- Wendy's created a pop-up restaurant called Ski Thru for visitors to experience the new Made-to-Crave burgers, and get some fresh air with a branded photo experience. The restaurant is 9,000 feet high in the Rockies.
- 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.
- The popup was marketed using ESPN Live Broadcasters and social influencers like X Games host Jack Mitrani.
- The pop up was promotional and the burgers were free, so there were no financial results to be measured. However, the reach of visitors to the X Games was 117,000 people in attendance that were exposed to the pop-up and the commentary of the broadcasters.
- TV viewership averaged 623,000 viewers on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC further increasing the reach of the Winter Game ads and commentary by the broadcasters.
CHEETOS FLAMING HOT SPOT
- Cheetos are cheesy snacks traditionally packaged for retail sale like potato chips. They have embarked on initiatives to display the versatility of the products in elevating cooked dishes such as burritos. Cheetos are distributed as a division of PepsiCo.
- Cheetos opened a three-day brand-inspired restaurant in partnership with famous chef Roy Choi called CHEETOS FLAMIN' HOT SPOT. The goal was to revamp Cheetos' perceptions among consumers as a "versatile brand and not just a snack food" and increase their reach.
- They offered chef-created dishes like "the Five-Alarm Cheetos Steak, the XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Rice Bowl and Chester Cheetos Churros". They also offered "burritos, rice bowls, wings, and spiced churros".
- They partnered with AmazonFresh and Walmart Grocery Delivery for delivery of ingredients and some dishes for those that could not attend. All recipes were made available online for those that could not attend the LA event increasing their exposure across the nation.
- The popup was held in a completely reformatted Madera Kitchen. They transformed the outside and inside of the building to be Cheetos-themed and provided many photo ops.
- Reservations for the popup were available on Open Table and the organizers sold out of their 1,000 reservations in less than one hour, double from the previous year. The wait list reached 9,500 people.
TACO BELL POPUP HOTEL
- Taco Bell is a fast-food Mexican-inspired restaurant with bold flavors at breakthrough value. They have more than 350 franchise organizations with over 7,000 restaurants and serve over 40 million US customers each week.
- Taco Bell's pop-up hotel and resort was called The Bell. The pop-up was a 4-day event held in August 2019 at the V Palm Springs, which was completely redesigned in Taco-Bell themed decorations and accessories like hot-sauce room keys. Decor around the hotel was emblazoned with "Palm Springs The Bell A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort".
- There were daily entertainment lineups, food and beverages including testing brand-new items for possible restaurant introduction, numerous photo ops, and there were also hair and nail services offered and a gift shop with Taco Bell swag.
- The company's Chief Global Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg described the pop-up as the biggest expression of the brand to-date.
- Reservations for The Bell were sold out in 2 minutes according to the LA Times. The resort has 140 rooms. Prices started at $169 per night.
- Opening night was especially hard to get into and mostly consisted of media like LA Times and Buzzfeed among others, hard-core fans, and mega-influencers such as Jeffree Star. Jeffree Star's YouTube review of the event has drawn 10,561,755 views. Reviews of attendees of the event were extremely high, an example of one can be found here.