Eatery El Chico Marketing VP discusses agency needs
The restaurant is being developed by Riyadh-based Safari Group, which plans to develop five El Chico restaurants across Saudi Arabia.
CRO operates several restaurant brands including Laredo; Cool River Café; Silver Fox; Good Eats; Lucky’s and III Forks. The Dallas-based company has development agreements to build 100 restaurants during the next seven years.
Speaking with WinmoEdge, Bill Watson, CRO
’s vice president of marketing, elaborated on El Chico’s plans for international expansion and its growth goals in the United States.
WinmoEdge: How many locations does El Chico estimate having. What are the brand's short- and long-term international goals?
Bill Watson: International development agreements are in place for 37 locations over eight years.
WinmoEdge: Does the company see potential to expand in the U.S., and what is the timetable on that growth?
Bill Watson: Yes. We expect to see U.S. growth. For example, later this summer the first El Chico opens in Toms River, N.J.
WinmoEdge: How do CRO and El Chico’s marketing strategy differ between international and domestic markets?
Bill Watson: El Chico adjusts the menu offering to accommodate local tastes and preferences. Branding often requires transliteration. Restaurant designs are adapted to meet local needs and expectations.
WinmoEdge: What are the primary channels and media that El Chico uses to reach these audiences, and how will that change going forward, if at all?
Bill Watson: Each of our international franchisees brings a local market perspective which informs El Chico brand message, channels of communication and media to reach the target audience.
WinmoEdge: How does the market for Tex-Mex compare in the countries that El Chico is considering versus its popularity in the U.S.?
Bill Watson: Awareness and interest in Tex-Mex is global. Thanks to international travel, thriving ex-pat communities and global media (e.g. The Food Network), target consumers have an in-depth understanding of Tex-Mex food.
WinmoEdge: What types of core customers does El Chico try to reach, and how will this change as it expands, if at all?
Bill Watson: The core customer is families of middle- to upper-middle income means. The target audience remains unchanged as El Chico expands internationally.
WinmoEdge: Does El Chico work with any strategic partners to help with its promotional efforts?
Bill Watson: Our international franchisees develop strategic partnerships with agencies/companies to assist with brand promotion.
WinmoEdge: Will additional agency/corporate assistance be needed as El Chico expands?
Bill Watson: Our international franchisees will develop additional agency/company relationships to launch the El Chico brand in expansion markets. Of particular interest will be agencies skilled in adapting an established American brand to meet the tastes, needs and preferences of the local market.
Nielsen reports that CRO spent $400,000 advertising in 2010. Of that, $150,000 was spent on Internet ads, $120,000 was spent on local magazine ads and $100,000 was allotted for newspaper ads