Lisa Mason stood outside a Chicago restaurant at 9:15 a.m. on a recent sunny Monday, where she would continue to wait for two hours. She wasn’t there for breakfast. She was there to get a $1 burrito.
Mason was the first person in line at the new Chicago outpost of Dos Toros, a New York-based fast-casual taqueria opening its second location in the Windy City. By the time the doors opened at 11:30 a.m., more than 200 people stood on the sidewalk in a line that stretched across the West Jackson Boulevard bridge over the Chicago River.
Prelaunch, Dos Toros did almost no marketing (think teaser signs in its windows pitching the new location, and promoting the $1 opening-day offer on social media), just some grassroots outreach. It included visiting employees in the office building where the restaurant is located, a soft opening days before the launch at which tenants got free burritos and tacos, and an email from the building concierge to tenants reminding them of the $1 deal.
“The term ‘influencer’ gets thrown around, but simply, somebody that works upstairs is a huge influencer for you, whether they have an Instagram or not,” says Marcus Byrd, marketing manager at Dos Toros.
Leo Kremer, who founded Dos Toros nine years ago with his brother, Oliver, says this approach to marketing works because the most-needed piece has already been placed: the location. The new Dos Toros is in an area filled with office buildings, and close to a commuter train station.