Baja Fresh Plays Up Mobile Coupons for First Digital Promo

Aims to quantify online impact

Baja Fresh is running its first digital promotion in 65 Los Angeles locations to understand which types of digital ads are most effective in driving in-store traffic. While the fast casual chain has dabbled in its own Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest efforts, digital in general is new territory for the company. "[This promotion is] really a test for us to see if digital is a good addition to the advertising mix," said Jerry de Lucia, senior director of marketing and product development at Baja Fresh.

Mobile coupons in particular play a big role in the initial digital effort. Ads supporting the campaign—which are running on Yelp, digital ad networks and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo—link consumers to an offer that runs through June 23.

The coupons are part of a deal called "Catch 2" that offers either $2 off an $8 order or a $5 discount on a $15 order of seafood tacos. De Lucia indicated that Baja Fresh may test other types of offers going forward to test digital’s effectiveness against traditional print coupons.

The key in rolling out these mobile coupons was that all of the participating locations needed to be able to redeem and track the coupons without installing new point-of-sale equipment. "Now that they are looking at digital and how that can perform for them and starting to test different things, I think they have an opportunity with a foundational tracking mechanism to understand what works and what doesn’t," added Catherine Tabor, CEO of Sparkfly.

The Mexican fast casual restaurant and its agency Ignited also have access to a portal where they can see which types of ads are most effective in hooking coupon redemptions.