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Saturday, Jul 2, 2022

El Pollo Loco Restaurant Design Refresh Touts Digital

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El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) is the latest restaurant operator to announce a new, tech-savvier restaurant design, which it’s calling the “restaurant of the future.”

The Costa Mesa grilled chicken chain said the new design is focused on catering to more off-premise orders via digital and contactless options, a channel that became more important this year with restrictions placed on in-restaurant dining due to the pandemic. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) of Newport Beach and Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. earlier this year also announced plans for new designs catering to more mobile and takeout orders.

El Pollo Loco’s new design comes in two options. One touts a takeout window, two-drive thru lanes, curbside parking spaces and patio-only seating.

The other variation in this new design touts the same features as the first, but will also maintain a smaller footprint indoor dining room with garage-style doors leading to outdoor seating.

The El Pollo Loco app and GPS will help with the efficiency of curbside order delivery. A separate area is also being allocated for pick up of to-go orders and digital menu boards will sit in the drive-thrus.

El Pollo Loco President and CEO Bernard Acoca said the new design “will be a catalyst to eventually get us back to 5% annual new unit growth across the U.S.”

El Pollo Loco shares were trading up 4.2% to $16.74 on Thursday for a market cap of $613 million.

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