Thursday, September 21, 2023

El Pollo Loco launching first ‘Air Loco’ drone delivery

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Starting June 24, El Pollo Loco Inc. will become the first national restaurant company to test door-to-backyard drone delivery, the company says. The test-and-learn pilot of its drone delivery service is the continuation of the company’s digital evolution and focus on customer experience.

“We’re highly encouraged by the evolution of our digital flywheel and continued enhancement of the strategies we put in place last year,” said Bernard Acoca, El Pollo Loco president and CEO. “We look forward to further growth on the heels of our record-breaking 250 percent increase in delivery performance in 2020.”

El Pollo Loco is launching the pilot with Tel Aviv-based drone startup Flytrex, which manufactures and operates automated drones that cruise at 32 mph without traffic or other impediments and use a wire release mechanism to gently lower food orders from 80 feet.

“El Pollo Loco continues to explore new and innovative delivery services that offer our customers added quality and convenience, and the Air Loco drone delivery pilot program is our latest effort to unlock fresh options for getting our fire-grilled chicken to hungry customers everywhere — piping hot and in perfect condition,” said El Pollo Loco Vice President of Digital Andy Rebhun. “We want to offer drone food deliveries that are fast, convenient and safe. The insights gleaned during this test-and-learn pilot will play a crucial role in helping us shape this exciting new service ahead of its rollout.”

The Air Loco drone is also outfitted with a fastened delivery box that keeps orders intact, which means customers will receive hot fire-grilled chicken and fresh L.A. Mex food packed in El Pollo Loco’s new Thermo-to-Go packaging, in a fraction of the time it would take for a conventional delivery to arrive, the company said, adding that during the pilot testing, a select number of El Pollo Loco’s Loco Rewards members in Southern California will be surprised with one of the first fire-grilled flights and will have the Air Loco drone lower their food order from high above their home.

In addition, beginning June 24, all customers can enjoy free delivery on El Pollo Loco’s current platform. This special, limited-time promotion aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of El Pollo Loco’s new Thermo-To-Go packaging, which keeps food hotter for longer, the company said. To take advantage of the free delivery offer, customers need to place an order of $20 or more on or through the Loco Rewards mobile app.

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