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el_pollo_drone_delivery-test-inset.jpg El Pollo Loco Inc.
El Pollo Loco Inc. has partnered with drone-maker Flytrex to test deliveries in Southern California.

El Pollo Loco will test delivery via drone

‘Air Loco’ trial in Southern California will lower orders from 80 feet above customers’ yards

El Pollo Loco Inc. will begin testing drone deliveries on June 24 in Southern Callfornia in a test with Flytrex, an Israel-based startup, the company said Thursday.

The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based quick-service chicken concept said the Flytrex drones can fly, without traffic or other hurdles, at 32 mph and use a wire release to lower food orders from 80 feet at the customers’ locations.

“El Pollo Loco continues to explore new and innovative delivery services that offer our customers added quality and convenience,” said Andy Rebhun, El Pollo Loco’s vice president of digital, in a statement, “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.”

The company said the test will involve a select number of El Pollo Loco’s loyalty rewards members in Southern California.

“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.

As part of the drone test, El Pollo Loco is including a free delivery promotion, also beginning June 24, for all customers who place orders of of $20 or more through the company’s website or on the Loco Rewards mobile app.

“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.

Third-party delivery platform Uber has tested drone delivery with Juniper & Ivy restaurant and McDonald’s in San Diego, Calif. And other brands from Domino’s Pizza to Chipotle Mexican Grill have tested drones.

“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’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to further growth on the heels of our record-breaking 250% increase in delivery performance in 2020.”

El Pollo Loco, founded in 1980, has more than 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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