Irvine, California-based El Pollo Loco announced recently plans to open 100 new restaurants over the next 5 years.
This announcement follows El Pollo Loco’s sale last December by Advantica Restaurant Group Inc. to New York-based equity investment firm, American Securities Capital Partners L.P.
El Pollo Loco will focus its expansion in the West. “We believe there are terrific opportunities to continue to grow our brand, both in Southern California where we already have a strong presence, and in our emerging Northern California, Arizona, Texas and Nevada markets,” said Brian Berkhausen, vice president of development for El Pollo Loco. “Our focus over the next 5 years will be on expanding our chain with quality sites and quality operators.”
El Pollo Loco currently operates domestically 122 company restaurants and 150 franchised restaurants. Approximately half of the new restaurants are slated for development by the company, and half are scheduled for development by franchisees.
The chain recently began an aggressive campaign to identify experienced, multi-unit restaurateurs to fill its expansion pipeline and help drive the future growth of the company. Completion of the expansion plan will grow the 272-unit chain by 37%.
El Pollo Loco markets a “wholesome alternative to traditional fast food.” Its grilled chicken is served with warm tortillas, a wide variety of signature side dishes and salsas prepared fresh every day.
In recent years, El Pollo Loco has broadened its menu and created new and more portable ways to bring its flame-broiled chicken to consumers on the go. Specialty burritos, Pollo Bowls®, Salad Bowls and Tostada Bowls have emerged as popular choices. These New Mex items and others have helped El Pollo Loco build a strong lunch business to complement the popularity of its 8- and 12-piece meals at dinner.
El Pollo Loco has achieved impressive sales growth over the past year. For the 12 months ended June 28, 2000, systemwide sales for the Mexican chicken chain were $291 million, a 12.4% increase over the prior 12 months.