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From Tacos to Tweets: How Kogi’s Food Truck Revolutionized Twitter

How a food truck revolutionized Twitter marketing: Insights from Kogi’s Roy Choi

Food trucks have long been a staple of local communities, offering delicious meals on wheels. But did you know that one particular food truck, Kogi BBQ, not only changed the culinary scene, but also the way we use Twitter? In an exclusive interview with Mashed, renowned chef Roy Choi shares the remarkable story of how Kogi BBQ’s innovative social marketing tactics reshaped the popular social media platform.

The Rise of Kogi BBQ and Twitter

Kogi BBQ, a Korean food truck business based in Los Angeles, gained a cult following for its delicious Korean short rib tacos. People would line up for hours just to get a taste of their delicious treats. The success of Kogi BBQ caught the attention of acclaimed director Jon Favreau, who was inspired to make the movie “Chef” based on Choi’s life as a food truck owner. Since then, Choi has gone on to host a Netflix series called “The Chef Show” and even co-hosted an episode of the HBO Max Original show “Selena + Chef” with Selena Gomez.
But it all started with a humble taco and a groundbreaking marketing strategy. Kogi BBQ’s website describes its launch in 2008 as a meeting between a “humble little Korean short rib taco” and Twitter outside a Hollywood nightclub. That meeting would not only change Choi’s life, but also revolutionize the way people use Twitter.

Serendipitous timing

Choi explains that the rise of Kogi BBQ and Twitter coincided with the 2008 recession and the bursting of the housing bubble. During this time, many people lost their jobs and uncertainty hung over the country. Social media, including the emerging iPhone and the newly launched Twitter, provided a welcome distraction and an avenue for connection.
Drawing parallels between the 2008 financial crisis and the current pandemic, Choi emphasizes how people sought solace in technology during times of turmoil. Twitter, with its real-time communication capabilities, allowed individuals to connect on a second-by-second basis, creating a sense of community and support. Kogi BBQ’s launch came at a time when people were looking for affordable options and unique experiences, making their food truck an ideal choice.

The Power of Twitter Marketing

What set Kogi BBQ apart from other brands at the time was its use of Twitter as a marketing tool. To keep customers informed of the truck’s daily location, Kogi BBQ began tweeting its whereabouts. This innovative approach turned finding the food truck into an exciting scavenger hunt, capturing the attention and curiosity of eager food enthusiasts.
In addition, Kogi BBQ engaged in playful banter with Twitter users, adding a sense of fun and spontaneity to their online presence. These viral tweets and unscripted posts were a novelty in the early days of Twitter, when many users were still figuring out how to use the platform effectively. Kogi BBQ inadvertently helped people understand the potential of Twitter as a communication channel and provided an escape from the daily challenges they faced.

A pure and amazing journey

For more than a decade, Twitter has evolved into a platform where individuals share stream-of-consciousness updates. But it was the casual, unscripted nature of Kogi BBQ’s tweets that truly showed brands how to harness the power of Twitter. Choi reflects on how Kogi BBQ inadvertently achieved both goals by creating a pure and remarkable experience for its followers.
The story of Kogi BBQ and its symbiotic relationship with Twitter is a testament to the transformative nature of social media and the impact it can have on businesses and individuals. Not only did the food truck satisfy appetites, but it also sparked a revolution in how brands engage with their audiences through social media platforms.
In conclusion, Kogi BBQ’s journey from humble food truck to cultural phenomenon highlights the power of innovation, timing and the ability to seize opportunities. By embracing Twitter, Kogi BBQ changed the way we use the platform and left a lasting impact on both the culinary world and social media marketing strategies.
So the next time you enjoy a delicious meal from a food truck or scroll through your Twitter feed, remember the story of Kogi BBQ and how a simple taco and a few tweets can change the world.


Kogi BBQ is a Korean food truck company based in Los Angeles. It has gained notoriety for its cult following and innovative social marketing tactics that have changed the culinary scene and the way people use Twitter.

How have Kogi BBQ’s social marketing tactics impacted Twitter?

Kogi BBQ’s use of Twitter as a marketing tool revolutionized the platform. By announcing their daily locations and engaging in playful banter with users, they turned the search for their food truck into an exciting scavenger hunt and helped users understand the potential of Twitter as a communication channel.

What role did Twitter play in the 2008 recession?

During the 2008 recession, Twitter provided a welcome distraction and connection for people facing uncertainty and job loss. Its real-time communication capabilities allowed people to connect on a second-by-second basis, fostering a sense of community and support.

How did Kogi BBQ’s timing coincide with the recession?

Kogi BBQ’s launch coincided with the recession, when people were looking for affordable options and unique experiences. The food truck provided a delicious and inexpensive meal, making it an ideal choice for people who were struggling financially.

How has Kogi BBQ influenced other brands’ use of Twitter?

Kogi BBQ’s casual and unscripted tweets helped other brands understand how to use Twitter effectively. Their innovative approach showed that Twitter can be used as a platform to engage with audiences and bring fun and spontaneity to online interactions.

How has Kogi BBQ’s journey influenced social media marketing strategies?

Kogi BBQ’s journey demonstrates the transformative power of social media. It highlights the importance of innovation, timing and seizing opportunities. The food truck’s success story has inspired other businesses to rethink their social media strategies and explore creative ways to engage with their audiences.

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