PepsiCo will open a popup restaurant in New York City next week featuring dishes inspired by the popular snack Cheetos and prepared by Chef Anne Burrell.
Several fast food chain restaurants have recently partnered to leverage the Cheetos brand. Burger King offered the Mac n’ Cheetos, deep-fried mac n’ cheese coated with Cheetos; Taco Bell stuffed Cheetos in their Crunchwrap Slider; and Taco John offered the Flamin Hot Cheetos Burrito. There appears to be no shortage of innovation with popular snack products.
So does the mashup make sense? Many restaurants are relying on salty items to create craveable opportunities for consumers to indulge in impulse-driven occasions. The majority of consumer restaurant occasions are unplanned and driven by impulses and hunger cravings. But there is often a great deal of risk associated with new, innovative products so partnering with a familiar, popular consumer brand can reduce the inherent risk associated with limited-time offering. Many mashups have had success as consumers trust the product, understand expectations and often embraces the spirit of adventure. Younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers are a strong target for these products as they are focused on what’s new and what’s next. They are less focused on health at their ages and are trying to find items that are hip, cool and very different from what their parents ate.
So how does a celebrity chef add value to the equation? Creating exciting new offerings raises the bar on interest and price points. When it comes to New York City, foodies reign and tourism combined with affluent consumers creates a unique marketplace for new appealing concepts with higher price tags. By partnering with a celebrity chef, the Cheetos concept provides immediate credibility and strong social media interest and outreach. There is little doubt the concept will build strong interest and long lines of interested eaters. If the food passes the test, the new offering can be a winner.