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Sam Wong, director of franchising for Pollo Campero USA, explains how the business has had to deal with a crisis of “spirit and innovation."

How COVID has changed human interaction and marketing at restaurant chains

Sam Wong, director of franchising for Pollo Campero USA, explains how the business has had to deal with a crisis of “spirit and innovation”

Sam Wong, director of franchising for Dallas, Texas-based Pollo Campero USA, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed human interaction across all 400 units of the chicken chain:

“‘How are you?’

‘I’m fine’

A polite greeting and conversation opener popularized in our culture has abruptly changed in translation. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects are dramatic and widespread that our lives and businesses, both short- and long-term have been disrupted. While the negative effects are real, there are ways we can turn massive challenges into meaningful change. 

Sam_Wong.jpegDuring the past six months, a period when other quick-service concepts faced difficult times, Pollo Campero faced the crisis with a spirit of innovation and reinvention by accelerating digital transformation and connecting with changing customer habits. We leaned on off-premise initiatives to offset dine-in restrictions.  By innovating the digital platforms and initiatives to generate new guests, we were able to deliver positive same store sales growth when the balance of the industry still experiencing negative comp store sales. 

In 2019, our marketing team started the overhaul of the digital sales platforms as we looked to deliver more convenience to guests: the mobile app, online ordering website, third-party delivery partnerships and integrations with our POS, a robust loyalty system. As a result, we had a strong and scalable base to build upon during the pandemic. Through the hard work of our operations team, we achieved several historic sales goals since our arrival to the U.S., including our highest sales week and months ever. We are excited that Q4 is off to a great start as well. 

Although the end is far from over, we are confident that the restaurant industry will adapt and show its resilience through the pandemic. The strength of the Pollo Campero business model and the success we have seen from our franchise system lead us to believe that we can, and will, outmaneuver the uncertainty.”

This is part of our Stories from the Front lines series.

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