Creating JOY and Winning Together
The 2023 El Pollo Loco Leadership Conference took place at the picturesque Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. This three-day event brought together 400 attendees, including corporate team members, leadership teams, franchisees, and sponsors. This event aimed to commemorate the previous year, recognize winners of their 2023 awards, and celebrate the year ahead.
To accomplish all of these goals, El Pollo Loco turned to Bishop-McCann to execute. Under the theme “Winning Together,” the conference sought to infuse energy and JOY into the gathering while reinforcing the company’s mission. After a four-year break from the program, El Pollo Loco was thrilled to reunite corporate team members, leadership teams, franchisees, and sponsors.
The conference represented not only a significant milestone for our franchise client but also unique opportunities and goals for the Bishop-McCann planning team. Our first goal was to demonstrate our value as event planning partners by seamlessly managing all aspects of the program. Second, we strived to elevate this year’s conference and the attendee experience, all while sticking within a consistent budget.
An obstacle for our team was that the majority of the planning teams on both sides were new to this conference. And of course, any new program (for both the client and the event planning team), comes with a few hurdles as we navigate each other’s communication styles and timelines, as well as simply getting to know one another. While documentation from the previous conference was available for reference, the team navigated uncharted territory, attempted to meet and exceed client expectations, and, of course, set a new standard for future conferences.
To accomplish these goals, the team took on a comprehensive role in producing the program. Bishop-McCann sourced the venue, created a registration website, and developed a tailored sponsorship program. The team managed the hotel rooming block and organized logistical elements, such as food and beverage arrangements, decor, and entertainment. Additionally, we produced the entire show, managed the trade show, and coordinated with vendors. Our incredible on-site staff was also deployed to ensure the event’s seamless execution.
The planning process began with a site visit, followed by regular meetings with the El Pollo Loco planning team. As we worked with the client, we ensured open communication and suggested innovative ideas while respecting the aspects the client was accustomed to.
Open and honest communication is always a Bishop-McCann priority, and communication played a pivotal role throughout the process. The internal planning team maintained continuous communication to ensure comprehensive coverage and efficient problem-solving.
To address budget concerns, the Bishop-McCann team turned to local resources and vendors to reduce costs. We also encouraged utilizing the event app for many attendee touchpoints, which played a crucial role in reducing costs and promoting an environmentally friendly approach.
The 2023 El Pollo Loco Leadership Conference proved to be a resounding success. The event achieved the client’s objectives of reuniting their teams, infusing energy and JOY into the conference, and reinforcing the company’s mission. The event theme, “Winning Together,” was embodied throughout the meeting and also mirrored the successful collaboration between the client and Bishop-McCann. Despite working with unfamiliar vendors and a new planning team, the event set a high standard for future conferences, establishing a solid foundation for a long-lasting and successful partnership with El Pollo Loco.
Some of the most memorable aspects included the leadership team singing “Living on a Prayer” during karaoke and the outstanding success of the silent auction. In addition, attendees were delighted by the attention to detail, including an LED spinner walking through the after-party and the energetic Chicken Fun Run for early risers.
The most significant source of JOY for both the planning team and El Pollo Loco was the overwhelmingly positive feedback, with some attendees deeming it “the best EPL conference they have been to.” Other comments from the client included:
I would like to acknowledge the entire team, especially the girls I worked with almost daily: Allison, Ellys, Michelle, and Leslie. Enjoyed working with Gail and Terrance on-site too. Great group of talented and kind people.
I can’t imagine working with anyone else on our future conferences.
The BMC team demonstrated excellent customer service, professionalism, and produced an excellent conference all-around. No problem or issue was too much to ask and always taken care of.
An amazing team that demonstrates leadership, professionalism, and accountability. I very much appreciated their hard work and dedication.