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El Pollo Loco unveils store of future remodels in Los Angeles, Las Vegas

L.A. Mex design to propel chain into growth mode over next two years

El Pollo Loco has remodeled three restaurants in the style of its restaurant of the future L.A. Mex design. Each restaurant—two in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas—is reimagined with a style that reflects the iconography distinct to Los Angeles and the El Pollo Loco L.A. Mex brand, according to an announcement.

These remodels incorporate shifting consumer preferences as a result of COVID, particularly in their digital-forward and contactless-centric layouts.

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In some restaurants, El Pollo Loco implemented a branding of the exterior to feature a Fire Tower, symbolizing the fire-grilled chicken essence of the brand. A focus on making the outside patio comfortable and inviting has led the way to brighter colors, better lighting and a “softer” take on the logo on the outside.

El Pollo Loco has also implemented GPS-enabled curbside pickup. In addition, the Los Angeles, Calif.-based quick-serve chain created a dedicated Pollo To Go digital order pickup fixture to accommodate delivery and in-store carryout. Furthermore, customers can use the El Pollo Loco app for a seamless experience.

A modern look and feel of the interior of the restaurant gives way to comfort and style. Full digital menu boards and grab-and-go drinks are meant to enhance the customer experience.

El Pollo Loco to remodel 300 stores over next few years. The new design incorporates design cues specific to its L.A. Mex heritage
El Pollo Loco to remodel 300 stores over next few years. These incorporates design cues specific to its L.A. Mex heritage. Photo by El Pollo Loco.

Meanwhile, pendant lights in the dining room are made from the forks that El Pollo Loco’s Grillmaster uses to cook the chicken over open flames. Murals, logos and wallpaper showing maps of Los Angeles reflect the hometown style.

El Pollo Loco Chief Executive Officer Bernard Acoca said, “We’re incredibly excited to have remodeled our first few restaurants so soon after announcing the prototypes and now look forward to ushering in a new era of El Pollo Loco expansion with our L.A. Mex asset design.”

The fire-grilled chicken chain has targeted 300 new design remodels over the next few years. Executives expect the remodels will propel El Pollo Loco to 5% annual unit growth by the end of 2023.

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As part of a development push, Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and parts of Texas reflect new DMAs the chain has targeted. Franchising an El Pollo Loco restaurant requires an initial investment between $770,000 and $2,097,000, which includes a $40,000 franchising fee, according to a statement.

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