El Pollo Loco

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El Pollo Loco, Inc.
El Pollo Loco
Industry Casual dining restaurant, Restaurants
Founded Los Angeles, California (1980)
Founder Juan Francisco Ochoa
Headquarters Costa Mesa, California
Number of locations
Area served
United States
(California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas)
Key people

Steve Sather (President, CEO)
Kay Bogeajis (Chief Operating Officer)
Larry Roberts (Chief Financial Officer)

Ed Valle (Chief Marketing Officer)
Products Fire-grilled chicken and related Mexican food
Slogan Crazy you can taste
Website elpolloloco.com

El Pollo Loco is a restaurant chain based in the United States, specializing in Mexican-style grilled chicken. 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".


Entrance to El Pollo Loco headquarters in Costa Mesa, California
A typical El Pollo Loco restaurant

El Pollo Loco primarily prepares Mexican chicken entrees. The company describes its chicken as "citrus-marinated and fire-grilled."


Juan Francisco Ochoa started the restaurant in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1975.[2]

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.[3]

In 1983, the 19 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.[4]

Four years later, the 70-unit El Pollo Loco was acquired by TW Services when TW Services purchased El Pollo Loco's then parent Denny's Inc. in 1987 for $218 million in cash.[5][6]

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 (949 m) long and weighed two tons.[7][not in citation given][citation needed]

American Securities Capital Partners acquired the 274-location El Pollo Loco in 1999 for $114 Million[8] and sold it to Trimaran Capital Partners in 2005 for $400 Million with 328 locations.[9][10]

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.[11] El Pollo Loco was recognized by the World Franchising Network as a Top Franchise for Hispanics in 2010.[7][not in citation given][citation needed]

New locations were first open by franchisees in the states of Utah[12] and Oregon[13] in 2008.

In July 2014, El Loco Pollo (NASDAQLOCO) became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ.[14][15]


In the U.S., the El Pollo Loco chain operates over 400 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and California. In 2012, El Pollo Loco restaurants went through a major makeover.[16]


El Pollo Loco or its franchisees briefly operated several restaurants in metro Atlanta,[17] and Boston,[18][19] New Jersey[20] and in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia;[21] these closed by 2011. The chain's franchised restaurants in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area[13][22] also closed in 2011. An El Pollo Loco in the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut[23] closed in spring 2012. The last of four Chicago area[24] stores closed at the end of 2012.

Charity partners[edit]

The brand created Fire-Grilled Fundraisers, an initiave for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their cause while dining at the restaurant. They also created El Pollo Loco Charities, a nonprofit 501(c) charity to provide meals to underprivileged families.[7][not in citation given][citation needed]


El Pollo Loco, S.A. de C.V.
El Pollo Loco
Industry Casual dining restaurant, Restaurants
Founded Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico January 6, 1975; 41 years ago (1975-01-06)
Founder Juan Francisco Ochoa
Headquarters San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, Mexico
Number of locations
Area served
(Coahuila, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Mexico D.F.)
Products Fire-grilled chicken and related Mexican food
Slogan ¿Que lo hace diferente... único...?
Website elpolloloco.com.mx

The El Pollo Loco locations in Mexico are not affiliated with or operated by the Costa Mesa, California-based El Pollo Loco, Inc. but are operated by Mexico-based El Pollo Loco, S.A. de C.V., which is still owned by founder Juan Francisco Ochoa and his family.[25]

In Mexico, El Pollo Loco, S.A. de C.V., operates as El Pollo Loco in over 40 locations within Mexico City and the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, of which 32 of those being located in Nuevo León.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Full List of Locations". El Pollo Loco. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Diaz, Francisco (8 July 2011), "Entrepreneur of the Year is Named", Laredo Sun, retrieved 16 July 2013 [dead link]
  3. ^ "The Legacy of El Pollo Loco". El Pollo Loco. [dead link]
  4. ^ "The Denny's Inc. restaurant chain has reached an agreement...". United Press International. September 19, 1983. 
  5. ^ "TW Services To Get Denny's". New York Times. July 17, 1987. 
  6. ^ Sanchez, Jesus (July 17, 1987). "N.Y. Firm Buys Denny's Chain for $218 Million : Most of Top Management Will Remain With Chain". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ a b c http://www.elpolloloco.com/contentAsset/raw-data/61990b90-b875-42b9-9308-8e176e684093/fileAsset/
  8. ^ Hernandez, Greg (November 10, 1999). "El Pollo Loco Sold for $114 Million". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Vincent, Roger (September 29, 2005). "El Pollo Loco to Be Sold for $400 Million". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ Luna, Nancy (September 29, 2005). "El Pollo Loco to be sold". Orange County Register. 
  11. ^ "El Pollo Loco is Newest 'Recruit' on NBC's The Apprentice: Los Angeles". Business Wire (Press release). 28 January 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "El Pollo Loco plans to open 1st Utah restaurant in May". Deseret News. January 24, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b Wells, Shannon (15 July 2008). "Restaurant spices up Wood Village Town Center". Portland Tribune. 
  14. ^ Li, Shan (July 25, 2014). "El Pollo Loco stock sizzles to close at 60% above IPO price". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ Luna, Nancy (July 25, 2014). "Wall Street clamors for a taste of chicken: El Pollo Loco stock surges 60 percent on first day of trading.". Orange County Register. 
  16. ^ Luna, Nancy (November 8, 2012). "El Pollo Loco joins fray of fast food makeovers". Orange County Register. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "El Pollo Loco Leaves Atlanta as Other Chains Make a Comeback". Tomorrow's News Today - Atlanta. October 5, 2011. 
  18. ^ "El Pollo Loco Opens 400th Restaurant in Chelsea, its First Boston Area Location Experienced Multi-Unit Restaurateurs Open Third of at Least 25 New Eng". Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine. May 27, 2008. 
  19. ^ "El Pollo Loco in Chelsea Has Closed". Boston Restaurant Talk. January 14, 2010. 
  20. ^ Verdon, Joan (May 3, 2012). "Latin-flavor chicken chains haven't migrated to North Jersey in expected numbers". NorthJersey.com. 
  21. ^ Shapiro, Carolyn (February 17, 2011). "3 El Pollo Loco restaurants closing". Virginia Pilot. 
  22. ^ Gunderson, Laura (April 4, 2009). "Fast-food chains look toward growth in Portland market". The Oregonian. 
  23. ^ Giuca, Linda (November 23, 2006). "Take On A Chicken In A Game Of Tic-tac-toe". Hartford Courant. 
  24. ^ Meyer, Gregory (August 4, 2005). "El Pollo Loco's Hombre in Chicago". Crain's Chicago Business. 
  25. ^ Cantu, Gustavo (March 9, 2015). "Don Pollo Loco". El Universal (Mexico City) (in Spanish). 
  26. ^ "El Pollo Loco - Sucursales". elpolloloco.com.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 March 2015. 

External links[edit]