Hardwood floors, a long custom-made dining table, and large picture windows have transformed a simple box truck into a dining room for Moe’s Southwest Grill’s “Tour de Burrito,” which began November 2 in New York. The fast-casual brand has invited influencers, both from traditional and social media, as well as a select group of its most loyal customers, to step inside the truck for a meal and to learn about its focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Moe’s president Bruce Schroder said the campaign developed out of research that found that customers know the brand primarily for its welcoming environment and cheerful attitude, and less for its commitment to fresh food.
“We’re going to change up our restaurants to put more of that in front of the guests, but instead of waiting until it manifested itself in our restaurants we decided to bring our restaurant to our guests in the form of this tour,” Schroder said.
From New York, the tour—produced by Roots3 Productions—made a two-day stop in Atlanta Monday and Tuesday. Today the event is taking place in Orlando, and Friday it will travel to Tampa. Schroder said the company selected these cities because the majority of its 700 restaurants are along the East Coast. At each event, 10 people at a time step inside the truck for lunch or dinner with members of the brand’s culinary team and to learn about new items that will be added to the menu and statistics about the food preparation process (for example that they dice 25,000 pounds of tomatoes every day).
“We give them a chance to order what they would like so we can represent the customization that we do, and we make it for them right in front of them,” Schroder said. “We also have six of the hottest peppers in the world on display on the table to try, and two of our new salsas that feature a couple of those peppers.”
In addition to the truck-slash-dining room, the activation includes a mobile kitchen setup under a tent where cooks grill meats and sauté peppers, a lounge with photo walls made of fresh produce, and local entertainment. In New York, a knife-thrower known as the Great Throwdini entertained guests by throwing knives at some of Moe’s most common ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, avocados, and more.
Schroder said the upscale look of the mobile dining room is also intended to reflect changes that will be coming to the brand’s restaurants. “You are going to see us take our food and our restaurants up a couple of notches,” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t have a super high quality-looking environment. it won’t be stuffy, but it will be about freshness and quality.”