At El Pollo Loco, pronounced “L Po-yo Lo-co” and Spanish for “The Crazy Chicken,” we go to crazy lengths for our signature citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken. First, we marinate fresh, whole chickens in a special recipe of herbs, spices, fruit juices and garlic. The whole chickens are then fire-grilled, hand-cut, and served with our chicken meals, burritos, salads, soups, tacos and quesadillas. And if that’s not enough, we apply that same passion to our handmade guacamole, salsas and dressings every day. Some say the lengths we go to are crazy. We say it’s Crazy You Can Taste.
We’re dedicated to serving healthful, freshly prepared food hot off our open-flame grills from the skilled hands of our Grill Masters. But we’re not just dedicated to our delicious, authentic food. We’re dedicated to our customers—from our grill masters, who compete annually for the honor of being the best, to our cashiers, who want to make every customer experience count. We’re dedicated to our communities, too, whether it means volunteering in our local neighborhoods, running Fire-Grilled Fundraisers, or supporting those in need through our EPL Charities partnerships. And, of course, we’re dedicated to serving perfectly fire-grilled chicken every single day. Some say the lengths we go to are crazy. We say it’s Crazy You Can Taste.Read Omar's Story
Omar Flores is an EPL veteran who has been a part of the team since 2001. Starting as an assistant manager, Omar’s “can-do” spirit enabled him to quickly moved up the ranks and within a year was promoted to General Manager at the age of 21. When he's not achieving greatness at work, he is achieving greatness in his community. Not only does Omar hire and train local at-risk youth, Omar also works tirelessly with EPL Charities to provide food for underprivileged families within the Children's Institute of Los Angeles Charity. For the past two years their combined efforts have served over 24,000 needy children and their families at the charity's annual event. Members of the surrounding community, grateful for his efforts, often stop in his restaurant to thank him. It's employees like Omar who exemplify El Pollo Loco's dedication to its neighboring communities.
It all began in Guasave, Mexico in 1975. El Pollo Loco was originally a roadside chicken stand. Its signature menu item? “Pollo,” of course: fresh chicken marinated in a special recipe of herbs, spices and fruit juices. Needless to say, El Pollo Loco quickly became a local favorite.
By 1980, the very first American El Pollo Loco opened on Alvarado Street in Los Angeles. The rest is history.
While a lot has happened over the past few decades, El Pollo Loco’s commitment to fresh, authentic food has not. And we’re just getting started because with each day that passes, we grow more and more passionate about our food. Some say it’s crazy. We say it’s Crazy You Can Taste.Learn more here.
1975: In the small town of Guasave on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, a roadside chicken stand draws passersby with the mesmerizing aroma of fresh chicken cooking on an open grill. Called El Pollo Loco or “The Crazy Chicken,” the chicken stand features an authentic family recipe for fresh chicken marinated in special herbs, spices, garlic and fruit juices and then fire-grilled to perfection. The restaurant quickly becomes a local favorite.
1975–1979: El Pollo Loco’s popularity spreads rapidly as 85 restaurants open in 20 cities throughout Northern Mexico.
1980: El Pollo Loco crosses the border into the United States. Lines form around the block as the first American El Pollo Loco opens on Alvarado Street in Los Angeles.
1983: Denny’s, Inc. purchases El Pollo Loco’s US operations.
1987: TW Services, Inc. (later Advantica Restaurant Group, Inc.) purchases Denny’s and El Pollo Loco.
1991: El Pollo Loco opens its 200th restaurant.
1993: El Pollo Loco expands its menu and debuts six new burritos in October. Lunch sales soar.
1994: El Pollo Loco adds self-serve salsa bars in all restaurants.
1995: On July 31, El Pollo Loco earns a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for building the world’s largest burrito in Anaheim, California. The burrito is 3,112 feet long and weighs two tons.
1996: In February, El Pollo Loco introduces the original Pollo Bowl®, a tasty combination of fire-grilled chicken, Spanish rice and pinto beans topped with onions, cilantro and salsa, with only 10 grams of fat.
1998: In October, El Pollo Loco introduces two new salsas–Avocado and Pico de Gallo–alongside its famous House Salsa. All are prepared fresh every day.
1999: In December, American Securities Capital Partners, L.P., a private New York–based equity investment firm, along with company management, acquire El Pollo Loco from Advantica Restaurant Group, Inc.
2005: In April, El Pollo Loco celebrates its 25th anniversary, introducing its first-ever Loco Value Menu.
In November, Trimaran Capital Partners, a private New York–based asset management firm, completes the acquisition of El Pollo Loco.
2007: In January, El Pollo Loco appears on NBC TV’s hit show, The Apprentice: Los Angeles. Contestants compete by creating and selling versions of El Pollo Loco’s Pollo Bowl®.
2008: In July, El Pollo Loco captures first place in QSR Magazine’s 2008 Applied Technology Awards in the “Enduring Technology” category for implementation of its customer feedback program.
In September, El Pollo Loco debuts the Chicken Tortilla Roll, a tasty, portable entree served with a choice of dipping sauces.
2009: In April, El Pollo Loco’s “throwdown” with fast-food goliath KFC ruffles a few feathers when it launches an award-winning Taste the Fire® campaign and challenges KFC to a public taste test: El Pollo Loco’s fresh, natural, citrus-marinated chicken grilled to perfection over open flames vs. the fried chicken chain’s new “grilled” chicken cooked in an oven. KFC plays “chicken” and does not accept the challenge. El Pollo Loco’s hugely successful campaign brings forth a series of amusing television commercials and online videos, igniting what reporters have referred to as the “Chicken Wars.”
2010: El Pollo Loco is recognized by the World Franchising Network as a Top Franchise for Hispanics.
2012: In January, El Pollo Loco launched major remodel program that celebrates the brand’s heritage and updates the dining room and building exterior.
In March, El Pollo Loco began a series of popular limited time offerings including the upscale Roja Wet Burrito, Avocado Bacon Tostada with fresh slices of avocado, Pork Carnitas Tacos, Burritos and Quesadillas and the unique Stuffed Chicken Quesadillas.
El Pollo Loco, Inc.
3535 Harbor Blvd., Suite 100
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Steve Sather, President and CEO
Ed Valle, Chief Marketing Officer
Richard Pineda, Vice President of Supply Chain
Patsy Estis, Vice President of Human Resources and Training
Heather Gardea, Vice President of Research and Development
Mark Hardison, Vice President of Marketing
John Laporte, Vice President of Information Technologies
Jeff Little, Vice President of Development
John Onstott, Vice President of Franchise Operations
Gus Siade, Vice President of Operations
Edye Austin, Director of Legal