Posted by John on March 31st, 2014
We continue to profile businesses that care about the music that’s playing in the stores and restaurants. We asked James Lux, VP of IT for boloco, to have a Q&A with us about boloco, burritos, and music. boloco serves globally inspired burritos in the Boston area (with an interesting history that you can read about here) and has expanded beyond Boston into locations around the Northeast USA. They have good taste in both food and music.
Q&A WITH JAMES LUX OF BOLOCO
CC: Tell us about this restaurant called boloco.
JL: We’re a family of 22 restaurants serving globally inspired burritos, bowls, smoothies, and shakes. Our mission is to positively impact the lives and futures of our people through bold and inspired food and practices. This means that we’re always evolving and trying to improve. We like to try new things. Some of those things don’t work out, but we still like to try. We say that even a burrito can aspire. Dream big, burrito.
CC: Why is music important to boloco?
JL: Simply, music makes people happy. As a company, we’re a little weird, a little different, hopefully always fun. We’re not perfect. We’re definitely human and we want our restaurants to be human too. Music helps us get there.
CC: Tell us about the music playing at boloco.
JL: Some indie, some classic rock, some local names. 90s music – after all, we were born in the 90s. And some surprises! We like to surprise our guests with the occasional random selections – like Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches on MLK day, Gaelic music on St. Patty’s day and some baseball songs on Red Sox opening day.
CC: How can music make a customer’s visit to a restaurant better?
JL: We hope our guests really feel that our restaurants are a place to hang out and that they are a part of the community. We offer free wi-fi and lots of outlets, plus some comfy chairs. One of the nicest things someone ever said about us was that it felt like a really cozy coffee house that wanted you to stay and hang out all day. We think music makes each restaurant a bit friendlier, more welcoming.
CC: What’s the reaction from customers to your music mix?
JL: It’s a lot of fun to hear from guests. We get a lot of feedback and we hear good things about our music. Last weekend, we got a tweet from a guest who was really excited to hear the Avett Brothers. Feedback also helps us improve. We have the same music pumping through our corporate office, so we hear what our teams and guests are hearing.
CC: What other music options have you tried? Music services or DIY music players.
JL: Previously, we were with a CD/download style elevator music company. They are fine if you want ho-hum music, but if music is more about the brand and not just something to create noise in the background, they fall short. Flexibility for us is key. So, if we have some crazy idea like playing MLK’s speeches mixed with the music all day, our partner can help us make that happen. For some reason, ideas like that always seem to come to us at the last minute, so a partner that can move quickly is ideal.
We switched to Custom Channels because boloco likes partnerships. They have been a great partner since our first install. It is clear they try to learn our brand and our voice and our personality. All this comes through in the music selection. On top of that, they truly care about the service and want it to be something amazing that adds to the brand; not just background music.
CC: How is it working with Custom Channels?
JL: Jana, John and Dave are all clearly music and service professionals. boloco tries really hard to love our guests and give them a great experience. Custom Channels aligns with our brand well in that regard. Thanks guys.
CC: If you had to narrow it down, what one song or artist is the best example of the boloco attitude?
JL: We’re biased, but some really cool guys wrote a great song for us a few years ago: “The Boloco Song” by Jamie Garry, Zack Hankins, and Elton Charles. Burritos are fun to sing about. We really have a thing for burritos.
CC: What would you recommend we put on our boloco burrito?
JL: Our fan favorite is the buffalo burrito, with grass-fed steak. It includes rice, spicy buffalo sauce (like buffalo wings), crunchy celery, and creamy blue cheese dressing. It is particularly good with our scratch-made guacamole (and we’d argue everything is better with guac). If that doesn’t strike your fancy, we have many more flavors inspired by culinary traditions from around the world. including Mexico, of course.