El Pollo Loco is a franchise chain of fast food restaurants specialising in flame-grilled chicken. From its 1975 Mexican founding, the business has expanded to run more than 480 outlets in the United States and a number of other nations.

Fresh, tasty chicken that is marinated in a unique mixture of herbs, spices, and citrus liquids before being grilled over an open flame is what El Pollo Loco is famous for. The restaurant’s menu features a number of chicken dishes in addition to burritos, tacos, salads, and sides like beans, rice, and guacamole which are all influenced by Mexican cuisine.

In the US, the fast food sector generates $273 billion in revenue. 79% of all restaurant traffic in the United States is at quick-service restaurants, which include fast food chains and smaller eateries with little table service. With regard to revenue, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway are the top three fast-food restaurants in the country. Around 9 billion servings of chicken are consumed annually in the United States, making it the most widely consumed protein. Revenue from the El Pollo Loco franchises is expected to increase by 3.5% p.a. on average during the upcoming three years. 

El Pollo Loco Franchise

What is El Pollo Loco?

A fast food restaurant chain called El Pollo Loco specialises in flame-grilled chicken.

El Pollo Loco’s menu offers a selection of foods with Mexican influences, such as flame-grilled chicken, burritos, tacos, salads, and sides like beans, rice, and guacamole. To give the chicken a crisp, smoky flavor, it is first marinated in a mixture of herbs, spices, and citrus juices.

Is El Pollo Loco a Franchise Opportunity?

Yes, For people and groups interested in owning and running their own restaurant, El Pollo Loco offers franchise options. The business has a seasoned franchising program that offers its franchisees continual training, support and help.

Facts That Nobody Told You About El Pollo Loco

  • The Spanish moniker “El Pollo Loco” means “The Crazy Chicken.”
  • Juan Francisco Ochoa established the first El Pollo Loco restaurant in Mexico, marinating and grilling the chicken according to a long-standing family recipe.
  • The first restaurant in America to serve flame-grilled chicken was El Pollo Loco.
  • For consumers opting for healthier options, El Pollo Loco also provides a “Fit Bowls” menu, which includes low-calorie, high-protein options.
El Pollo Loco Franchise Review and Information
Industry Type Food Franchise Opportunities
Sub Category Chicken Franchise Opportunities
Year Established 1975
Company Name El Pollo Loco
Founder/Management Head Brian Carmichall, Chief Development Officer
Franchising Started 1980
Employees at Company H.O 113
Franchise Expansion Plan US states such as Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Washington
Number of Units 483
Number of Franchise Units 483 as of 2022
Social Media Handles Facebook
Company Office location  Costa Mesa, California, United States

El Pollo Loco Franchise Requirements

You must fulfill a number of requirements in order to open an El Pollo Loco including,

  1. Financial requirements

You must have at least a $2 million net worth and $50,000 in liquid assets.

  1. Experience

Prior restaurant or franchise experience is required, as is the ability to show a strong dedication to quality and customer service.

  1. Business Plan

You are required to provide a comprehensive business plan that details your desired site’s location, anticipated financial results, and marketing approach.

  1. Site Selection

While choosing a location for your business, consult with the real estate specialists at El Pollo Loco.

El Pollo Loco Franchise

How much does an El Pollo Loco franchise cost

The projected initial investment for a single El Pollo Loco franchise varies from $1,155,100 to $2,622,800, according to the company’s Franchising Disclosure Form.

How much does it cost to franchise an El Pollo Loco in the United States?

The projected initial investment for a single El Pollo Loco franchise varies from $1,155,100 to $2,622,800, according to the company’s Franchise Disclosure Form.

El Pollo Loco Startup Initial and On-going Franchise Cost
El Pollo Loco Franchise Fee $40,000
El Pollo Loco Franchise Cost $781,500 – $2,560,250
Royalty Fee 5%
Advertising Fee 5%
Term of Agreement 20 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
Renewable Franchise Fees 50% of Initial Franchise fees

El Pollo Loco Training to Franchises

The training program covers a variety of topics and offers both classroom and on-the-job training, such as,

  1. Operations

Franchisees receive training on every facet of running a restaurant, from customer service to quality assurance to food preparation, cooking, and serving.

  1. Marketing and Advertising

Franchisees are taught marketing and advertising methods used by El Pollo Loco as well as how to create their own regional marketing campaigns.

  1. Management

Franchisees receive training on hiring, developing, and scheduling a team of staff.

  1. Financial Management

Franchisees receive training in financial management, which includes cash flow management, inventory control, and budgeting.

El Pollo Loco Operations to Franchises

Franchisees of El Pollo Loco are in charge of overseeing every part of running their eatery, including food preparation, cooking, serving, customer service, and quality assurance. Nonetheless, El Pollo Loco offers its franchisees a wide range of support to make sure they can effectively run their eateries and uphold the high standards of quality and service that are associated with the brand.

How is El Pollo Loco Territory Granted to Franchises

El Pollo Loco uses a process to assign territory to its franchisees that is intended to provide each franchisee with the best opportunity for success. the following steps are frequently included in the procedure,

  1. Evaluation of the Market

El Pollo Loco’s franchise development team analyses the market to find regions with a strong potential for expansion and brand demand.

  1. Identification of Potential Franchisees

The franchise development team identifies prospective franchisees who are interested in starting a restaurant in the targeted market.

  1. Screening and Qualification

El Pollo Loco has a thorough screening and qualification procedure to make sure that each prospective franchisee has the resources, business knowledge, and dedication to the brand required to run a successful restaurant.

  1. Site Selection

The franchise development team collaborates with the franchisee to find and acquire a suitable location for the restaurant once a franchisee has been granted approval.

What is the El Pollo Franchise Term of Agreement and Renewal?

The El Pollo Loco agreement has a duration of 20 years, with the franchisee having the option to renew for further 10-year terms, provided certain requirements are met.

The renewal procedure normally entails discussions between the franchisee and El Pollo Loco regarding any required updates or modifications to the franchise agreement in addition to an assessment of the franchisee’s performance and compliance history.

Does El Pollo Loco provide Financial Assistance to Franchises?

Franchisees of El Pollo Loco are not given any direct financial support or financing. But, as franchisees look for financing from other lenders, the corporation might be able to offer some support and direction.

Pros & Cons of owning an El Pollo Loco

Pros of owning an El Pollo Loco

  1. Established Brand

El Pollo Loco is a well-known, established brand with a devoted following that can aid franchisees in luring clients and generating income.

  1. Extensive Support

El Pollo Loco offers its franchisees comprehensive support, including continuing operational support, marketing, and training.

  1. Proven Business Model

The El Pollo Loco business model has been tried and tested over many years, increasing its viability and assisting franchisees in avoiding frequent problems.

  1. Menu Variety

El Pollo Loco has a large selection of tasty Mexican-style chicken dishes that are fresh, healthy, and affordable.

Cons of Owning an El Pollo Loco

  1. Large Initial Investment

The cost of opening an El Pollo Loco’s franchise, including franchise fees, real estate, equipment, and other expenses, is considerable.

  1. Ongoing Royalties and Fees

Franchisees are expected to pay continuous royalties and fees to El Pollo Loco, which over time may affect their profitability.

  1. Restricted Flexibility

Franchisees are required to follow El Pollo Loco’s branding and operating guidelines, which may restrict their ability to be innovative and flexible in how they run their operations.

  1. Competitive Industry

Fast-casual restaurant franchisees may encounter stiff competition from other well-known and up-and-coming brands in this cutthroat sector.

El Pollo Loco Franchise

How much do El Pollo Loco franchise owners make?

The franchise disclosure document for the corporation states that the typical gross sales for an El Pollo Loco location in 2020 were $1,675,750.

What is El Pollo Loco franchise profit?

We shall estimate the El Pollo Loco franchise profit and years to recoup the investment (ROI).

AUV Estimated Annual Profit (12.5%) Estimated Annual Profit (15%) Estimated Annual Profit (18%)
$ 1,675,750 $ 45,000 $ 54,000 $ 64,800
Recoup mid-point Approx 5-6 years 8.36 years   7 years 5.8 years

The estimated El Pollo Loco franchise profit is in the range of $ 1,675,750 and it will take 5 to 6 years to recoup the investment. 

According to industry standards, it will take a very long time to get a return on the franchise investment.

What are El Pollo Loco franchise reviews?

As different franchising locations might differ in terms of service, food quality, and overall customer experience, reviews for El Pollo Loco franchisees can vary greatly. Examples of reviews for El Pollo Loco franchises are provided below,

Positive reviews

  • “Fresh and excellent meals are served. The staff is helpful and friendly. I enjoy coming here.” 
  • “Both the food and the service were outstanding. I wholeheartedly endorse this location!” 

Negative reviews

  • “The food was delivered cold and the service was delayed. Overall, not a great experience.” 
  • “I discovered a hair in my food, and when I brought it to the staff’s attention, they were unconcerned. Not appealing.”

El Pollo Loco Franchise Rankings

  • El Pollo Loco’s has routinely been on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list, which honors the best franchise prospects based on criteria including financial stability, growth rate, and system size.

Franchise Deck Analysis and Overview

Franchise opportunities are available from El Pollo to eligible applicants who fit its requirements. The initial investment needed to start a new restaurant ranges from $534,500 to $1,227,000, depending on the size and location of the restaurant, and the franchise fee is $40,000.

Is the El Pollo Loco Profit Worth the Franchise Cost?

Yes, El Pollo Loco has a solid reputation for success in the quick-service restaurant sector, as seen by its well-known brand and devoted clientele. In addition, to aid with site selection, restaurant design, building, and continuing operational support, the franchise offers significant support and training to franchisees.

El Pollo Loco Franchise Success and Failure Rate

The below table will highlight the El Pollo Loco success and failure rate for the last 3 years. This will supplement your decision-making process.

Year Format Start End Change
2019 Franchise Owned 284 283 +1
Company Owned 200 196 +4
2020 Franchise Owned 283 291 +8
Company Owned 196 190 +6
2021 Franchise Owned 291 282 +9
Company Owned 190 189 +1

Competition Analysis of El Pollo Loco Franchises

Brand Cost to Franchise Franchise Fees Royalty + Ad fees Expected Profit Recoup of Capital FD Rating
El Pollo Loco $781,500 – $2,560,250 $ 40,000 5% Approx $1,675,750 per annum 5-6 years 4.5/5.0
Mcdonalds Franchise $1-1.5million $45,000 4%  $458,000 5-6 years 4.5/5.0
KFC Franchise $1,440,600 – $3,163550 $135,000-$540,000 4-5% $70,000 to $90,000 6-7 years 4.5/5.0
Popeyes Franchise  $109,500 to $3,545,800 $50,000 5% $1,725,197 7-8 years 3.7/5.0
Arby’s Franchise  $637,950 to $2,306,000 $37,500 4% $440,849  6-7 years 3.0/5.0

Chick-fil-a Franchise 
$186,495 $10,000 15% $200,000 8-9 years 3.6/5.0

The Franchise Deck rating for El Pollo Loco’s franchise is 4.5/5.0.

El Pollo Loco Franchise


In Conclusion, it will be a profitable business to own an El Pollo Loco Franchise. Because it has several Positive/Profitable Factors such as an Established Brand, Extensive Support, Proven Business Model, and Menu Variety which make the franchise Profitable.

Entrepreneurs who want to open a franchise in the chicken franchise category  franchise opportunities categories can look at 

  1. Chick-fil-AFranchise 
  2. KFC Franchise
  3. Qdoba Franchise
  4. Nando’s Franchise 
  5. Pollo Tropical franchise 
  6. Del Taco Franchise
  7. Burger King Franchise
  8. Arby’s Franchise 
  9. Popeye’s Franchise 
  10. Taco John’s Franchise
  11. Chop Stop Franchise
  12. Portillos franchise
  13. Cava franchise

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is the  El Pollo Loco franchise profitable?

Yes, the El Pollo Loco franchises can be a lucrative business venture. El Pollo Loco’s was ranked #288 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2021 Franchise 500 list, indicating that it is a popular and established franchise brand.

  1. Can you make money owning an El Pollo Loco Franchise?

Yes, you can make money by owning an El Pollo Loco franchises. Owning an El Pollo Loco franchises, like any other business, necessitates a significant investment of time, money, and effort.

  1. Is a El Pollo Loco a franchise?

Yes, El Pollo Loco is a franchising company. Individuals and business owners who want to own and operate their own El Pollo Loco restaurant can apply for franchises with the company.

  1. How much is the El Pollo Loco franchise?

According to the company’s 2021 Franchising Disclosure Document, the estimated initial investment to open a new El Pollo Loco restaurant ranges from $517,100 to $1,320,300.

  1. How do El Pollo Loco franchises make money?

El Pollo Loco franchises make money primarily by selling menu items to customers. Franchisees purchase food and supplies at a low cost from the franchisor or approved suppliers and resell them to customers at a higher price, generating revenue for the business. Other revenue streams for El Pollo Loco franchises include catering, drive-thru and dine-in services, and third-party delivery services.

Published On: March 5th, 2023 / Categories: Blog, Food Franchise Opportunities /


  1. Ben March 16, 2023 at 7:15 am - Reply

    El Pollo Loco is a popular chain of Mexican-style fast-food restaurants located in the United States. El Pollo Loco is known for its signature flame-grilled chicken, marinated in a secret blend of herbs and spices. El Pollo Loco offers a variety of menu options from tacos and burritos to salads and quesadillas. The chain also offers a variety of sides such as chips, guacamole, and Mexican rice. El Pollo Loco is popular for its flavorful and affordable meals that can be served quickly and conveniently.

  2. cooke March 16, 2023 at 7:16 am - Reply

    The chain has more than 400 locations across the United States, mostly in the western part of the country. El Pollo Loco has been in business since 1975, and it has become a beloved institution in the West. The chain has also become popular in other parts of the country, and it continues to expand its presence. El Pollo Loco is known for its commitment to quality and fresh ingredients, which are used to make its flavorful dishes. The chain also offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, making it a great choice for those looking for healthier options.

  3. Tomas March 16, 2023 at 7:17 am - Reply

    El Pollo Loco is a great option for a quick and flavorful meal on the go. The chain also offers catering services, making it a great choice for parties and special events. El Pollo Loco is committed to giving back to the communities it serves, and it has a variety of charitable initiatives. El Pollo Loco is a beloved brand with a strong presence in the US, and it continues to grow. El Pollo Loco is a great option for those looking for a flavorful, affordable, and convenient meal.

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