El Pollo Loco Heats Up Colorado Expansion Plans
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El Pollo Loco Heats Up Colorado Expansion Plans

Iconic fire-grilled chicken franchise looks to enter market with as many as 20 restaurants throughout Denver and Colorado Springs

Growth to be driven by two new restaurant designs

February 25, 2021 // Franchising.com // COSTA MESA, Cali. - Driven by two new restaurant designs that cater to off-premise dining, El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or “Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken chain, is eyeing Colorado as part of its next wave of expansion.

Company plans call for opening 10-15 restaurants in metro Denver and as many as five others in the Colorado Springs area over the next five years. Each restaurant will occupy approximately 2,400 square feet of real estate and employ as many as 50 people.

The announced expansion is part of a broader growth initiative that expects to see the 478-unit chain open 140 new restaurants in select DMAs throughout the Western United States by 2026.

According to Chief Development Officer Brian Carmichall, American consumers are eating with an ever-expanding perspective on freshness and health, while shifting their dining behavior away from on-premise business. This change in behavior and new lifestyle adaptation, coupled with El Pollo Loco’s focus on fresh ingredients, will no doubt contribute to the brand’s development plans.

“We are excited to grow our footprint and bring El Pollo Loco's signature chicken, handcrafted Mexican entrees and assortment of healthy offerings to new communities,” said Carmichall. “The expansion announcement and impending unit growth is sure to appeal to the growing number of consumers looking for healthier options; consumers’ growing demand for bolder, spicier flavors; and experienced franchise owners with the desire to be part of a strong franchisee family.”

In addition to El Pollo Loco’s nearly 50-year history and fiercely devout following, the expansion will be driven by two recently unveiled prototype designs geared to meet the demands of the company’s off-premise business.

One version has no indoor dining room. Instead, it caters largely to off-premise sales with a take-out window, a dual drive-thru, parking for curbside pick-up, and patio seating. The second prototype will have a smaller-than-typical dining room that opens up to an expansive patio. This format store will also feature a dual drive-thru and curbside pick-up parking spaces.

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 try one of the low-calorie menu options that complies with your dietary regime, we have a menu that has something for everyone,” said Carmichall.

SOURCE El Pollo Loco



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