Another important factor is the use of second-generation locations, which have become available in bulk due to the effects of the pandemic. Project Pollo has landed in a former Church’s Chicken, Carl’s Jr., and a Jack in the Box that’s next to big names like Wendy’s, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Dunkin’, and Burger King. Bradbury says his cost to entry is roughly $50,000 to $75,000 as opposed to $600,000 to $1 million.
The locations have similar colors and ambiance, but all look different and come in a variety of sizes. One store is 560 square feet and generates almost $3,000 per square foot. The Jack in the Box unit, which is 3,040 square feet and two stories high, has been dual-purposed into an office for district managers and directors. Bradbury claims “we’re going to probably spend less on opening 12 locations than an average McDonald’s will spend on their location, yet generate three to four times the amount of volume.”
Those savings will translate to lowering the price of menu items or giving incremental wage increases to employees, Bradbury says.
“When you have a low cost and low overhead to get into the market, it becomes so much easier to keep everything else because you don't have debt service,” Bradbury says. “You don't have any debt that you're trying to pay back. You don't have any lenders. Nothing of the sort. So on our balance, everything is favorable because we don't have a massive amount of overhead that was involved with the opening process. So that's very important. Because the difference between $75,000 and $1 million is huge.”
After opening a few months ago, the team has laid out a plan to reach 100 locations by 2024. While it’s an aggressive goal, Bradbury says he’s been with a company that’s grown at that pace, so he knows how to build the foundation. He adds he’s a year ahead on leadership positions, which helps with building consistent culture, training, operations, and knowledge.