El Pollo Loco, the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken chain, has unveiled a new growth strategy to add to its presence in Texas.

 The California-based chain, which already has 31 restaurants across the state, plans to open several additional locations over the next several years. The planned franchise expansion will help to complete the development of the state. The brand, which has restaurants operating in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley, is looking to add franchisees in markets like El Paso, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, and Odessa/Midland. 

“We believe there are terrific opportunities to continue to grow our brand, not just in markets where we already have a strong presence, but also in new markets where our distinctive menu is sure to appeal to consumers,” says El Pollo Loco’s Chief Development Officer Brian Carmichall. “Our focus over the next few years will be on expanding our chain with more convenient locations and quality franchise partners.”

The expansion will be driven by two recently debuted restaurant designs geared to meet the demands of the company’s off-premise business.

One version features a takeout window, dual drive-thru, curbside pickup parking spaces, and patio seating without a dining room. The other has a dual drive thru, dedicated curbside pickup parking spaces, but a “smaller-than-typical” dining room that opens up to a large patio through garage style doors. 

Both prototypes share an enhanced digitized experience – including “Pollo To Go” cubbies for mobile to-go and delivery orders, digital menu boards and GPS-enabled curbside pick-up, all integrated with the company’s dynamic and versatile mobile app. 

While the look may be different, the vast and diverse menu will remain the same.

At El Pollo Loco restaurants, the chicken is always fresh, never frozen, marinated in a proprietary recipe of citrus, garlic and spice, fire-grilled over an open flame and hand-cut to order. The freshly grilled chicken serves as the base for an authentic selection of dishes, including family chicken meals, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, bowls and salads. The Pollo Fit section of the menu also offers low-calorie, vegan and even keto-certified options for followers of the keto diet.

“Whether you want to indulge in Mexican-style comfort food or you want to try one of the low-calorie menu options that complies with your dietary regime, we have a menu that has something for everyone,” Carmichall says.

To augment the expansion plans, El Pollo Loco is seeking highly sophisticated and motivated multi-unit operators who share the company’s commitment to high standards of operation. The initial investment to own and operate a single unit is estimated between $770,000 and $2,097,000, which includes a franchise fee of $40,000. 

“This expansion announcement and impending unit growth is sure to appeal to the growing number of consumers looking for the type of food options El Pollo Loco has to offer; and experienced franchise owners with the desire to be part of a strong franchisee family,” notes Carmichall.

Today, El Pollo Loco has 478 restaurants in six states, with 282 of those owned and operated by franchisees.

Fast Casual, Franchising, Growth, News, El Pollo Loco