Bojangles’ Doug Poppen on the QSR Chain’s Hispanic Market Opportunity
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Two weeks ago we published the exclusive about QSR chain Bojangles' hiring the services of AC&M Group, its first Hispanic specific Advertising Agency. We interviewed Doug Poppen, Senior Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Bojangles' so he could provide us more details about this important strategic initiative for the Charlotte, NC based chicken and biscuits chain.
Fans of the brand are attracted to Bojangles’ proprietary menu that offers a flavor profile unlike anything in the Southeast markets it serves, including some of the fastest growing cities for U.S. Hispanics: Charlotte, NC; Raleigh area, NC; Atlanta, GA; and Washington area, D.C.
Already a substantial amount of Bojangles' customers are Hispanic and that is why Bojangles' leadership encourages Hispanics to be franchise owners of Bojangles' restaurants. "We strive for the ownership, leadership and management of our restaurants to reflect the spirit of the communities in which we serve. We are expanding to more and more high-Hispanic areas, and so yes, we have a strong desire to maintain that consistency as we grow," says Doug Poppen, Senior Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Bojangles'.
60% of Business is Conducted via the Drive-Thru
According to Poppen, from a demographic standpoint, Bojangles' customer base at each location is very reflective of the general population of that community. He adds that "because approximately 60% of our business is conducted via the drive-thru, we do attract a high percentage of on-the-go customers who are eating as they go to or from work, school or other activities."
As we expand into more and more communities where Hispanics live and work, we will certainly be looking to make sure our menu is appealing to consumers in those local areas.
Will Hispanic dishes soon have a place on Bojangles' menus? Poppen answers that "Bojangles’ is always looking to offer the highest quality, uniquely-flavored products to our customers. As we expand into more and more communities where Hispanics live and work, we will certainly be looking to make sure our menu is appealing to consumers in those local areas."
Upcoming Hispanic Campaign
One insight Jaime Cardenas, CEO at AC&M Group, provided during a recent interview, is that "Hispanic consumers are a key segment for Quick Service Restaurants, they already account for 20% of the dollars spend in QSR's in the U.S. Hispanic also visit QSR more often than non-Hispanics. Spanish Language Dominant Hispanics visit QSR even more often." Add to that the fact that the Southeast is one the fastest growing areas in the country in terms of Hispanic population - Charlotte, Raleigh and Atlanta are leading the country in Hispanic population growth - and Bojangles' may be sitting in front of a gold mine. That is why it is working on an upcoming Hispanic marketing campaign. Says Poppen: "We are currently in the process, with the assistance of AC&M Group, of getting a thorough understanding of who the Hispanic quick-serve restaurant customer is within our footprint. Once that foundation is set, the Hispanic campaign might include elements like TV and online video, broadcast and digital radio, paid and owned digital & social media as well as partnership, sports and event marketing," Poppen notes.
For the general market, BooneOakley (Charlotte, NC) is Bojangles' agency-of-record. Boone Oakley and AC&M Group will collaborate across all phases – research, planning, creative concept development, production, etc. Bojangles’ also has 3 international restaurants located in Honduras. AC&M will assist with international marketing efforts as needed.
ABOUT BOJANGLES': Bojangles' is known for its uniquely-seasoned and marinated bone-in chicken, made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits, and breakfast served all day, every day. Research firm Technomics in 2013 ranked Bojangles' as the fastest growing chicken chain. And in October 2014, the chicken-and-biscuit chain reached $1 billion in annual systemwide revenue. Bojangles' has restaurants in 11 states (Alabama, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North & South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia and three restaurants in Roatan Island, Honduras. As of September 27, 2015 Bojangles' had 657 restaurants, of them 274 are company-operated, and 383 are franchise-operated. An updated store count will be released on March 10.