El Pollo Loco is making good on its plans to expand throughout Metro Denver. The nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain recently inked a multi-unit agreement with LMU Investments, LLC to develop four area restaurants.
The franchise group, whose partners already own 18 El Pollo Loco restaurants throughout California and Utah, will open their restaurants exclusively on the east side of Denver, the first of which is already under construction.
“No matter which new community El Pollo Loco enters, our guests have an overwhelmingly positive reaction; they appreciate our fire-grilled chicken driven ‘L.A. Mex’ menu, fusing Mexican cuisine with fresh better for you ingredients, which no doubt differentiates us from other concepts,” says president of LMU Investments Lee Alvarez, Jr. “We’ve had our eye on bringing El Pollo Loco to Denver for years. With the brand’s handling of the pandemic and the incredible support provided to franchisees, in addition to the new restaurant prototypes that it recently introduced, we knew it was the perfect time.”
The new restaurants will feature El Pollo Loco’s new prototype designs geared to meet the demands of the company’s off-premise business.
One version caters to off-premise sales with a dual drive-thru, walkup take-out window and convenient parking for curbside pick-up. To maximize sales per square foot, it boosts only patio seating and has no indoor dining room. The second prototype will have a smaller-than-typical dining room that opens up to an expansive patio. This format will also feature a dual drive-thru and designated curbside pick-up parking.
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 individual or family chicken meals, bowls, burritos and salads. The brand is well-known for a range of flavorful menu items that customers feel better about eating because they are healthier than typical fast food and fit into a host of dietary regimes ranging from calorie counting to keto.
“There really isn’t anything like El Pollo Loco – our food is the perfect blend of traditional Mexican flavors and new California inspiration,” says Alvarez Jr. “We’re excited to open our new restaurants and welcome the local community to enjoy our fire-grilled menu.”
The local expansion announcement comes at a time when El Pollo Loco is aggressively looking to expand its national footprint. Over the next few years, the plan is to remodel more than 300 of the brand's existing restaurants with the new prototype designs and develop 140 new restaurants in select DMAs throughout California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.
Today, El Pollo Loco has 480 restaurants in six states, with 291 of those owned and operated by franchisees.