Pizza Patrón's controversial LTO breaks company sales record
Pizza Patrón's La Chingona offering has broken the company's all-time sales records, making it the most successful LTO product launch in company history.
According to a news release, during the first three weeks of sales, Pizza Patrón reported that La Chingona represented more than 4 percent of the pizza sales mix, more than doubling the company's peak historical average for a new LTO launch.
The offering generated some controversy due to its name — offensive to some in the Mexican culture — and was branded La Ch!#gona throughout most of its campaign. A number of major radio networks, including NPR, even pulled spots advertising the product because of its name.
"The media coverage we got prior to the launch of La Chingona definitely helped us generate new sales during Cuaresma (Lent), one of the most challenging sales periods of the year for our brand," said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patrón "The vast majority of our customer base is Catholic and they abstain from eating meats during Cuaresma. We are projecting even stronger sales of La Chingona after Easter."
Gamm said that early media coverage created a surge in traffic prior to the launch.
According to the company, while 2014 first quarter same-store sales growth for the restaurant industry was -0.2 percent, Pizza Patrón posted 9-percent comp sales and 3.3-percent total sales increase. The company also closed 20 percent of its underperforming locations during that time.
"Over the past year, we have narrowed our customer focus to target the foreign-born Mexican demographic, and our product focus to promote our unique specialty pizzas that our core customer can't find anywhere else," said Edgar Padilla, corporate marketing manager for Pizza Patrón. "La Chingona is the beginning of a series of campaigns designed to help us to connect with our core demographic, build traffic, and increase top-line sales."