Jefferson Graham


Published 8:35 AM EDT Sep 14, 2019

LOS ANGELES — For National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Sunday, the California-based restaurant chain El Pollo Loco has turned to Snapchat and augmented reality to celebrate. 

El Pollo Loco, which has nearly 500 stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah and Louisiana is looking to bring back lost Latino-themed murals in downtown Los Angeles, if only in virtual form. 

Open the Snapchat smartphone app, tap on the background to activate the World Lenses feature and point the phone at the now blank wall. With that, the old murals come back to life on the screen.

“We really didn’t want to lose that culture,” says El Pollo Loco CEO Bernard Ococa of the campaign, which will run for a month.  

Interviewed in a booth at the first El Pollo Loco restaurant, circa 1980, in downtown Los Angeles, Ococa said the murals went away due to gentrification, but he looks to bring them back by having the original artists re-paint the originals outside his L.A. stores.

The Snapchat lens works on five blank walls in downtown Los Angeles. You can find the locations by visiting the website

Listen to the complete interview with Ococa on the Talking Tech podcast by clicking the link below.

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

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