El Pollo Loco (LOCO) launches air drone service

Mexican Restaurant chain El Pollo Loco (LOCO) has launched its air drone service Air Loco and began testing in some regions. El Pollo Loco has partnered with drone operator Flytrex to offer door-to-backyard drone delivery and will launch the service starting June 24.

The Air Loco service will be tested in 10 restaurants and the chain will look to scale the delivery option across different areas of its footprint, Andy Rebhun, vice president of digital at El Pollo Loco, said in an email. Future locations will be determined based on market demand and FAA regulatory approval.

According to Rebhun, the company expects to save 25% to 30% on shipping costs by employing the Flytrex service. During the drone delivery pilot, it will also experiment with different pricing strategies.

According to Rebhun, Flytrex orders take 10 to 12 minutes to complete versus 36 to 40 minutes for third-party delivery partners. The Air Loco drones fly at 32 mph, and a wire release mechanism gently lowers food orders from an altitude of 80 feet. Orders will be shipped to a select number of Loco Rewards members in Southern California in the QSR’s new Thermo-to-Go packaging.