Thursday, October 1, 2009

Atlantans Not So Crazy For El Pollo Loco, Fiesta Brands Faces Forclosure!

El Pollo Loco corporate has taken over operations of its restaurants in Atlanta as of last Thursday. Fiesta Brands, its franchisee for the Atlanta market apparently was facing foreclosure and corporate assumed control of the stores rather than shuttering them all. Closing five of nine, the most successful stores, including locations on Cobb Parkway and Buford Highway were saved, for now. In late 2007 Fiesta Brands signed a franchise agreement that gave them the rights to open 50 units within the 53-county demographic area over six years, but clearly that will no longer happen.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Fiesta Brands COO, Joe Uhl last year at the Buford Highway location and he expressed then that the brand was experiencing an identity crisis of sorts. The units in Atlanta were state of the art, all built from the ground up with the food served to your table, the line between fast food and quick serve restaurant seemed blurred. Not knowing how best to market the line may have lead to their downfall. Perhaps Atlantans were not quite ready to think "Outside The Bell?" With Willy's Mexicana Grill at a slightly higher price-point and Taco Bell lower, it seems El Pollo Loco just wasn’t able to carve out a big enough niche to make a go of it.

The build-outs and equipment of the Atlanta locations were quite expensive as well, with some nearing $2 million. This past June, locations in Cumming, Hiram and Marietta were rebranded "The Crazy Chicken" (El Pollo Loco) but it seems even that could not save them as just a few months later they were the first to be shuttered.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

the food sucks.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Geat descriptive words! I couldn't disagree with you more! El Pollo Loco offers a healthy alternative to the fast food service scene and at a resonable price. I hope they get out of this mess -- I can't stand McDonald's and similar fast food establishments, but ppl like youself probably dine there daily.

Anonymous said...

Re: Dear Anon,

Sorry don't eat fast food. Tried El Pollo as an 'alternative' and found it to be lackluster in every regard. If you enjoy it, it just shows your lack of taste.

Anonymous said...

Re: Re: Dear Anon,

It must be depressing that The Dinning Room at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead has closed. Where in the world will you eat?

Speaking directly in terms of fast food options (those of us who work are often limited on time), El Pollo Loco is exceptional.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a shame. I am a big fan of Pollo Loco and was excited to see them enter the Atlanta area. On the plus side, the units I frequent still appear to be open - hopefully it stays that way.

Anonymous said...

>>>The Dinning Room<<<

Dining