September 11, 2008 // Franchising.com // LEHI, UT – On the heels of a record breaking opening in Lehi, El Pollo Loco, the nation's leader in citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken, is seeking development partners to identify great sites for future locations as the chain continues its expansion across the state.
In late June 2008, the first Utah El Pollo Loco opened in Lehi, surpassing the national chain's opening day record with more than 1,000 transactions and $18,000 in sales. The store continues to serve as one of the top producers in the El Pollo Loco system. The Lehi location was followed by another successful Utah opening in the city of Washington in July 2008.
"The unprecedented success of the El Pollo Loco brand in Lehi has caused a great deal of excitement over the chain's expansion in the state," said Roland Spongberg, president and CEO of WKS Restaurant Corporation, the largest franchisee of El Pollo Loco. "Developers throughout Utah have an opportunity to add tremendous value and drive added traffic to shopping centers by identifying sites for new El Pollo Loco restaurants."
WKS Corporation plans to open at least 15 El Pollo Loco restaurants throughout the state of Utah, along the Wasatch front. Since 1987, Spongberg has evolved from being a single restaurant operator with no previous restaurant industry experience to becoming the largest franchisee within the El Pollo Loco system. WKS Corporation is the largest El Pollo Loco franchisee with 56 current locations.
In addition to its Utah development, the El Pollo Loco, Inc. has a pipeline of franchise restaurant commitments in California, Georgia, Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Oregon, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington.
Each of Spongberg's new El Pollo Loco locations will feature the restaurant chain's 'Next Generation' prototype designed to have broad demographic appeal in new markets, design flexibility to deliver maximum returns in end cap, in-line, drive-thru and freestanding formats, and to drive continued national growth of the 32-year-old concept. The new building exterior evokes contemporary Mexican design with multiple textures, geometric shapes, natural wood and Aztec design elements.
Founded in Guasave, Mexico in 1975, El Pollo Loco, pronounced "L Po-yo Lo-co" and Spanish for "The Crazy Chicken," opened its first U.S. restaurant in 1980 and is famous for the unique preparation of its award-winning "pollo"-- fresh chicken marinated in a special recipe of herbs, spices and citrus juices passed down from the founding family. The marinated chicken is then flame-grilled, hand cut and served hot off the grill with warm tortillas, freshly prepared salsas, and a wide assortment of side dishes. Rounding out the menu are fresh flavorful entrées inspired by the kitchens of Mexico, including signature, grilled burritos, the Original Pollo Bowl®, Pollo Salads, Tacos al Carbon, quesadillas, and more.
El Pollo Loco currently operates 411 restaurants, located principally in California, with additional restaurants in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, El Pollo Loco, Inc. is a privately held company owned by Trimaran Capital Partners and company management. For more information about El Pollo Loco, visit the company's website at www.elpolloloco.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements, which are statements that do not relate solely to historical fact. They include, but are not limited to, any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate or imply future results, performance, achievements or events. They may contain words such as "believe," "anticipate," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "project," "plan," "will," "should," "may," "could" or words or phrases of similar meaning. The statements reflect management's current expectations regarding future events. Risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, concerns about food-borne illnesses; increases in the cost of chicken; an adverse ruling from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in litigation involving El Pollo Loco S.A. de C.V. (El Pollo Loco- Mexico) which could result in the imposition of significant monetary damages and loss of rights to the trademarks in Mexico; our dependence upon frequent deliveries of food and other supplies; our sensitivity to events and conditions in the greater Los Angeles area; our reliance in part on our franchisees; our vulnerability to changes in consumer preferences and economic conditions; our ability to compete successfully with other quick service and fast casual restaurants; and other risk factors listed from time to time in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new information, future events or otherwise.