The secret to El Pollo Loco's success is our great-tasting food. Our menu has a broad and deep consumer acceptance across a wide span of demographic and socioeconomic sectors – and it’s a healthier alternative to traditional fast food.
It all began as a roadside chicken stand in the small town of Guasave on the coast of the Sea of Cortez. It featured an authentic family recipe of fresh chicken marinated in special herbs, spices and citrus juices, and then fire-grilled to perfection. The restaurant quickly became a local favorite. In 1980, El Pollo Loco opened in California.
Today, the tradition continues with signature dishes that satisfy consumers’ desire for flavorful food that fits well with today's active lifestyles. We're currently fire-grilling marinated chicken in almost 400 company and franchise-owned El Pollo Loco restaurants.
We provide a full array of targeted advertising tools and marketing plans to build awareness and drive customers into our restaurants through:
Here's What It Takes
Although we will attempt to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible, please note that (i) none of the communications made through this website should be construed as an offer to sell any franchise in, nor is any such communication directed to, any jurisdiction requiring registration of the franchise before it is offered or sold in the jurisdiction, and (ii) we are unable to provide El Pollo Loco franchise information to any prospective franchisee that is a resident of, or who intends to establish a franchise in, any jurisdiction in which a registration is required, until the offering has been exempted from the requirements of, or duly registered in and declared effective by, such jurisdiction and the required Franchise Disclosure Document (if any) has been delivered to the prospective franchisee before the sale in compliance with applicable law. These jurisdictions include: Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.
El Pollo Loco FAQs
What areas are available for franchising?
Please refer to the Territories tab for areas that are currently open for development.
What is my initial investment?
Based on the amounts listed in our current FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document), you can estimate between $427,850 and $802,350 per unit. This does not include real estate estimates, which vary by area. Our franchise fee is $40,000 per unit.
What are the financial requirements?
Our minimum financial requirements are $1.0 million total net worth and $300K liquid assets per unit.
What are the operational requirements?
We require a minimum of five years of experience as an owner/operator within the restaurant industry. You must also live in the area of development in order to manage the restaurant on a daily basis.
What is El Pollo Loco's approval process?
Step 1–Online Inquiry
If you meet or exceed our financial and operational minimum requirements as stated above, and you are interested in an open territory (see Territories tab), complete the online inquiry form.
Step 2–Phone Conference
Once we receive your online inquiry form, one of our franchise development team members will set up a phone interview with you to further discuss your interest in franchising. If both parties are in agreement, you will be directed to Step 3.
Step 3–Franchise Application & FDD
You will be sent the El Pollo Loco Franchise Application and Franchise Disclosure Document Acknowledgement Form. Once completed and returned in its entirety with all required documentation, the FDD will be sent to you either electronically via download or hard copy via US Mail.
Step 4–Operational & Financial Approval
Your application will be reviewed internally and an operational assessment will be set up with one of our team members.
Step 5–El Pollo Loco Management Approval
Your application and business plan will be presented to our management team for review and approval. If approved, a Development Agreement will be prepared and sent to you.
How long does the approval process take?
Based on a completed application and all required documentation, the approval process typically takes between 6 and 9 months.
Do I have to find my own restaurant?
Yes, you are required to locate a site within your prescribed area of development with the assistance and guidance of our well qualified real estate staff.
Do I have to build my own restaurant?
Yes, you are required to build your restaurant, however, we do have project managers available to help guide you through every step of the process.
How long will it take to open for business?
Each area of development has different permit time lines and city requirements, however, we estimate 12-18 months for a free-standing building and 6–12 months for an endcap unit.
How much profit can I expect to make?
We do not make profit claims. There are strict regulations in the franchise industry that limit our ability to estimate how successful your restaurant will be.
El Pollo Loco is currently focused on specific areas for development. We are seeking qualified, motivated franchisees or sites within the following DMAs:
So Many Choices
Given the broad appeal of El Pollo Loco, and the unique ability to provide food customers seek for both lunch and dinner, there are many locations that may be suitable for restaurant development.
The Best Locations
Our team is committed to working with franchisees and developers to identify the best possible locations for new restaurants. When potential sites are submitted, our real estate team will review all pertinent site information and then forward it to our executive team, which will make the final recommendation to proceed or not.
Freestanding w/ drive-thru
Endcap w/ drive-thru
How to Apply
Please review the information below. If you believe you are qualified and are interested in applying, select the Apply Now button to the right to complete a Franchise Application form.
The El Pollo Loco franchising program is on fire!
We're interested to hear from well qualified food-service investors who are interested in being part of the El Pollo Loco success story. Our criteria for candidates include the following:
Please be aware that when you complete the forms you will be providing El Pollo Loco with information that will need to be verified. Although you may meet criteria detailed on these pages, this does not automatically qualify you to become a franchisee of El Pollo Loco. This is not an offer to sell a franchise.
Please note: All fields are required for us to process your Pre-Qualification Request.
For assistance with additional questions or inquiries, please contact Lisa Meagher at email@example.com