El Pollo Loco
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (October 2013)|
El Pollo Loco 2013 logo
|Industry||Casual Dining Restaurant, Restaurants|
|Founded||Los Angeles, California (1980)|
|Headquarters||Costa Mesa, California|
|Number of locations||399|
Steve Sather (President, CEO)
|Products||Fire-grilled chicken and related Mexican food|
El Pollo Loco is a restaurant chain based in the United States, specializing in Mexican-style grilled chicken. Its signature chicken is marinated in a proprietary blend of lime, fruit juice, garlic, spices and seasoning then grilled on an open flame.  Restaurant service consists of: dine-in, take-out, with some locations offering drive through options. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California and operates over 400 (as of March 2014) company-owned and franchised restaurants in the Southwestern United States. "El Pollo Loco" is Spanish for "The Crazy Chicken".
El Pollo Loco makes Mexican chicken entrees. Chicken meals are available in individual, family and catering-sized portions. Throughout the years, the chain has expanded into burritos, signature Pollo Bowls, and tostada salads and serves items that compete with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Taco Bell, Del Taco, and other Mexican-style restaurants. The company describes its chicken as "citrus-marinated and fire-grilled."
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. In 1991 El Pollo Loco opened its 200th restaurant. In 1994 El Pollo Loco added self-serve salsa bars in all restaurants and in 1995 El Pollo Loco earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for building the world’s largest burrito in Anaheim, California. The burrito was 3,112 feet long and weighed two tons. American Securities Capital Partners acquired El Pollo Loco in 1999 and sold it to current owner Trimaran Capital Partners in 2005. In January 2007, El Pollo Loco was featured on NBC TV’s hit show The Apprentice: Los Angeles where contestants competed by creating and selling versions of El Pollo Loco’s Pollo Bowl. El Pollo Loco was recognized by the World Franchising Network as a Top Franchise for Hispanics in 2010.
In the U.S., the El Pollo Loco chain operates nearly 400 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and California. In 2012, El Pollo Loco restaurants went through a major makeover, with more than 55 of their restaurants sporting a newer more contemporary look. The revamped stores include grills that are visible to guests as they order, larger windows that shed more light on the colorful orange and blue hues of the dining room. The salsa bar moved from the dining room to a more central location near the front counter.
El Pollo Loco saw systemwide sales up nearly 9% in 2012; fueled by limited-time offers, a new marketing campaign and restaurant remodels the company opened new restaurants in Las Vegas, NV, Torrance, CA and Oceanside, CA in the Summer of 2013. 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.
El Pollo Loco values the act of giving back to the communities that they are in. The brand created Fire-Grilled Fundraisers, an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their cause while dining at the restaurant. They also created El Pollo Loco Charities, a nonprofit 501© charity created and powered by volunteer employees of El Pollo Loco. El Pollo Loco Charities provide over 10,000 meals a year to help underprivileged families.
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