El Pollo Loco
The 2007-present logo
|Founded||Guasave, Sinaloa (1975)|
|Headquarters||Costa Mesa, California|
|Number of locations||450|
|Key people||Steve Sather, [President, CEO]|
|Products||Flame-grilled chicken and related Mexican food|
|Owner(s)||Trimaran Capital Partners|
El Pollo Loco's signature dish is pollo asado, a grilled marinated chicken. Over time, the chain has expanded into burritos and salads, and serves items that compete with Taco Bell, Del Taco, and other Mexican-style restaurants.
Juan Francisco Ochoa started the restaurant in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1975. By 1979, the chain had expanded throughout northern Mexico. In 1980, its first U.S. restaurant opened in Los Angeles, California, at 503 Alvarado Street, near Sixth Street. In 1983, the American restaurants in the chain were acquired by Denny's, with an agreement that the Ochoa family would continue to operate the restaurants in Mexico. American Securities Capital Partners acquired El Pollo Loco in 1999 and sold it to current owner Trimaran Capital Partners in 2005.
In the U.S., the El Pollo Loco chain operates in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and California.
El Pollo Loco or its franchisees briefly operated several restaurants in metro Atlanta and Boston, New Jersey and in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia; these closed by 2011. The chain's franchised restaurants in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area also closed in 2011. An El Pollo Loco in the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut closed in spring 2012. The last of four Chicago area stores closed at the end of 2012.