Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) shares jumped 23% in midday trading Thursday to a $396 million market cap, a day after the company updated investors on coronavirus-related matters.
The restaurant operator said its same-store sales for the quarter ended March 25 were off 1.5%. Comparable sales were up across restaurants 3.7% in February, prior to stay-at-home orders and the shuttering of non-essential businesses.
The elimination of in-restaurant dining across the industry as a result of COVID-19 isn’t hitting El Pollo Loco as hard, with the company saying it historically has had off-premise diners. They account for roughly 78% of sales, about half from drive-thru service.
El Pollo Loco, like many others, is adding to its cash stockpile drawing down on a $150 million credit line to add $34.5 million to its reserves. It also has been tamping down on spending and withdrew previously released guidance.
For franchisees, the company said it deferred half of the April royalties due and 100% of this year’s remodel fees.
Go here for more updates on OC companies’ responses to the coronavirus.
For ongoing, in-depth coverage of the coronavirus’ effects on OC businesses, see the Monday print edition of the Business Journal.