When Dos Toros Taqueria opened its 12th and largest store in New York City on Wednesday, a day after National Taco Day, there were lines around the block as people clamored for its $1 burritos.
The demand is only going to increase, as starting today, the fast-casual chain will turn nearby Bryant Park into "Burrito Park," where people can score free menu items through a Snapchat "scavenger hunt."
In designated geofenced parts of the park, customers will be able to activate a Snapchat filter that will display a free menu promotion of the day. Using the filter, they can take a snap that can be redeemed for a free food item at the new West 40th St. location.
The Snapchat promotion runs Oct. 6, Oct. 7, Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, with the free food items ranging from tacos and burritos to quesadillas and chips and guacamole. A mascot in a taco costume will be roaming Bryant Park to guide those participating in the promotion.
"We wanted to use Snapchat in a novel way," said Dos Toros' co-CEO Leo Kremer, who founded the company with his brother Oliver in 2009. "We also like the idea of targeting local users. We're all about reaching potential customers who can take action and come visit one of our taquerias."
Dos Toros' use of Snapchat geofilters is one way to reach a younger demographic that is comfortable with technology and active on social media. "I think there's a strong self-selection effect whenever you run a campaign exclusively through social media, and especially Snapchat," said Mr. Kremer.
Last week, Snapchat announced that it had 60 million daily users, making it one of the largest social networks. It began offering branded geofilters last year and since then, many companies have signed on, including McDonald's, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and KFC.
When KFC offered special themed geofilters at more than 900 locations in the U.K. there was over 23% increase in visits within a week of a user seeing the filter in a friend's Snap, according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' Mary Meeker.
Pernod Ricard's Jameson brand ran the alcohol category's first sponsored national geofilter for a St. Patrick's Day campaign this year. A case study using measurement from Millward Brown found this promotion drew 42 million views from more than 18 million Snapchat users and led to a 42% lift in purchase intent.
For some smaller scale companies, Snapchat is one way to carry out a big marketing push without making a major budgetary investment. Dos Toros' Snapchat geofilter campaign cost all of $157.70.
The idea behind the chain's campaign, conceived of by BigEyedWish, was to put a new spin on traditional marketing techniques.
"Promotions have always been a massive part of a marketing mix. I just tried to think about new technologies and new ways to drive it without a guy standing on the corner barking with a microphone," said Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of BigEyedWish.
BigEyedWish was the creative agency behind the taqueria's first ad campaign, which launched in June, cheekily calling out other chains with the line #NoBull and drawing attention to transparency and pricing. One ad in the out-of-home campaign read "We're crazy to charge $.92 for guac, You are if you pay $2.30."
The California-style Mexican chain has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and said in June that it plans to open 15 to 20 new spots in the next three years, including expansion into Boston and Chicago.