“El más fuerte”: How to survive in the Mexican street food business

The street food business is a battlefield. Mexico can be a really complicated place if you want to venture into it. There are small stands in every street corner offering treats

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“EL DON: especialidad las gringas”

 

of the mexican cuisine. Now you may wonder, how do people differentiate them? what would make your enchiladas stand better than the one in the opposite corner? Or as a client, how could you know where to have the best tacos after partying on a Friday night?

Well, the brand says it all. That’s right, these little stands are brands too, and if you want to survive among them and stand out, you have to have the best personality, attributes,
and products.And in order to do so, you have to generate equity, paying special attention to the name for your brand. To mexican people, the name is everything.

Following the equity model proposed by Aaker and Keller 1996 based on the client’s perspective, you the first thing need is to generate awareness. People have to be able to know you exist, to recognise, and to remember

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“El pinche que aprendió a hacer tacos”

 

you. 


The names of the mexican food stands generally talk about the experience you will get in that place, and of the
service  and quality they offer (which is the second ingredient to get equity). Also refers to the intangible assets of it; for that you need to know what clients want to get out from the experience. So, you have to be careful when choosing the name, because you cannot lie to people. Clients will expect to get something  depending on your name, and you cannot let them down.

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“El vilsito”

 

Mexicans are very critical when it comes to food, and Keller and Aaker  consider the client’s judgement and experiences as a very important thing when generating equity. Molly Reynolds, expert in content marketing, says that the name of a brand can create an association with positive connotations for the customer and if you get people to associate your brand with good emotions, you gain a customer for life. But if you let them down, mexican people will make sure that no relative or friend of theirs ever go to you and they will give you a new name that matches better with the experience they got. The first experience is very important according to the Journal of Consumer Research, because it helps to build the awareness and it determines the attitude your client will have towards you in the future. You want resonance, you want their loyalty.

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“Esquites y Elotes El Hermano”

 

For example “Esquites y Elotes El Hermano” are known nationally for their great service, they offer good food and friendliness by calling you “hermano/ hermana” (brother/sister). When you go to the famous taco stand “Los parados” (The standing men) you know you are going to be standing up while eating, because food is so good there’s never a place to sit, but people know it is worthy. But for example “El buen chilaquil” (The good chilaquil) is more known as “El pelos” (The hairy man) because people have found a “special ingredient” in their food, and decided to warn everyone about what they might get by giving them a new name. There´s a lot to learn about this business but now you know how to get started if you dare, and is time for you to think what name do you want for your stand. People will talk about you, so what do you want to be remembered for? And as a client, which name makes you want to go and try the food from that stand?

References:
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2 Responses to “El más fuerte”: How to survive in the Mexican street food business

  1. Foss says:

    Hi Sarah! I love your post, I think Mexico has an unique way of branding themselves. It is interesting to read, also awesome pictures! I think this kind of branding could have either highly positive or extremely negative for someones business/reputation. Like for example with the ‘hair incident’. I think it is hard to rebuild a reputation in Mexico. What do you think, would this kind of branding also work for Europe?

  2. ireneortegalegidos says:

    Really original post! People think that brands are just for big companies, but the fact is that everything has a brand. Even the food stands that we find in the street have a reputation, an image, values, etc. I think in this case is specially important to take care of customers because the better marketing strategy for these food stands is the word to mouth. What do you think?

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