Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pollo Tropical Chickens Out In East Cobb

Growing chain slows growth, trims unit count 

Miami-based Pollo Tropical announced earlier today it has closed its East Cobb location as part of parent company's Fiesta Restaurant Group's "strategic review process."  The restaurant, along with nine others in the chain, closed yesterday.  Amazingly, the East Cobb location, in a newly built outparcel of Parkaire Landing shopping center, had barely been open a year, having celebrated its grand opened in September.  The restaurant's East Cobb location received a total of 34 Yelp reviews and had a cumulative rating of 2.5 stars.

Another location that closed, on Charlotte Pike in Nashville, opened last July.

In addition to the Atlanta and Nashville closures, eight other locations closed in Texas, headquarters of both parent company Fiesta and sibling concept, Taco Cabana.  Fiesta indicated they will re-brand up to three of  the restaurants in Texas as Taco Cabana restaurants. Nearly all employees impacted by closures will be offered positions at nearby restaurants.  A large percentage of Pollo Tropical's nearly 200 restaurants are in their home state of Florida and the decision to close / re-brand multiple units in Texas is seen by industry observers to indicate Fiesta is reconsidering their Texas expansion.

We remain optimistic about the future growth opportunities for both our Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana brands and believe that the steps we are taking now provide opportunity for success in 2017 and beyond.” Interim Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer Danny Meisenheimer said.

Danny Meisenheimer joined Pollo Tropical in early 2012 as the company's Chief Brand Officer and was promoted to Interim Chief Operating Officer, succeeding Jim Tunnessen, following his retirement from the company as COO in January 2013. Meisenheimer was named Interim Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiesta in August following then CEO Tim Taft's abrupt retirement.

Among the things being reexamined since Taft's departure is the earlier announced plan to split the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana brands.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRGI) previously re-branded its test concept Cabana Grill, located on Scenic Highway in Snellville, as a Pollo Tropical.

As I've previously reported, Pollo Tropical is currently on its second incursion into metro Atlanta having had three franchised units in metro Atlanta in the mid-late 90s.  Pollo Tropical marked their return to metro Atlanta in August of 2011 with a location on Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville. Since then, the chain has steadily built out its metro Atlanta operations that now include a total of sixteen locations as far as Newnan, McDonough and Gainesville, and most recently, Tucker.  Following the East Cobb closure, the chain still operates four units in Cobb county: Akers Mill, Marietta, Kennesaw and Austell.  There are reportedly no new locations currently planned for metro Atlanta in 2017.  

Did you frequent the East Cobb location of Pollo Tropical?  Are your surprised the East Cobb location closed?  What would you like to see open in place of Pollo Tropical in East Cobb?

Please share your thoughts below.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Expensive, bland food. Employees and clientele appearance that of a 3rd World country. Another chain that should not have expanded out of its hot spot.

AJ said...

I respectfully disagree with Anon @ 7:19AM. I like their Tropichop bowls. A small one (which is plenty of food) is $4.99 (or $5.99 with a soda). It's essentially like a burrito bowl at Chipotle/Moes, but with Pollo Tropical's food. You add salsa or another sauce from the sauce bar which adds flavor. The Akers Mill location is quite busy at both lunch and dinner from what I've seen. They bring the food to you and don't ask for tips on the receipt like Chipotle/Moe's does. I could get almost 2 meals here for the price of 1 there. And I'm not comparing Chipotle's perceived quality food (food which has a greater reputation of getting people sick than Pollo Tropical's food) to Pollo Tropical's food. I'm just talking about the food in general. As for "employees and clientele that of a 3rd World country), I don't respectfully disagree - I just flat out disagree. I'm not sure why hiring employees or dining in the same restaurant as someone from Southeast Asia, Central America, or Africa matters. If you only want to eat with people who are like you, you probably shouldn't go out to restaurants. I mean, I'm pretty sure I've seen foreign people working at every fast food restaurant (including Chick-Fil-A) and every fine dining restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I have only been to the Akers Mill location but my experience was good each of the few times I visited. Food quality and service were both fine.

For what it's worth I have only eaten at Chiptole once. I felt like I received a month long supply of sodium in one sitting. I was so turned off I never returned. And Moes is just gross to me. Willy's is the better burrito spot in my opinion.

SB said...

The ones in South Florida have drive through lines 20 cars deep at all times. But here they never do well. It's mind-boggling.

Imandy said...

As a general rule i don't eat at any restaurants that put coupons in the paper. Never been there

jeff a. taylor said...

I'm surprised it lasted that long. I never saw anyone come or go.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me. I never ate at the East Cobb one. Wasn't convenient in and out of that location. I figure it didn't have enough lunch traffic there. The one in Akers Mill is usually pretty packed out for lunch and I've driven home over lunch and seen very few cars at the Parkaire location.

Anonymous said...

The service at this location was consistently dreadful and they were often out of menu items.

I walked out one time and the manager chased me out of the building with a coupon for 25% off my next meal. He could barely speak English through his thick African accent and was clearly exasperated.

Anonymous said...

I found the chicken to be mostly bone. It was cheaper for me to go to Kroger and buy a rotisserie chicken. So, I went a few times to try other offerings, but nothing really appealed to me at the prices offered.

Replacement idea: CAPTAIN D'S
KFC

Many, many years ago (late 70s early 80s), in the same location as Pollo Tropical, was a Long John Silver. I would like to see a fast food fish establishment back at that location.

Since Mrs. Winners closed, we need a fried chicken place as well.

Anonymous said...

BTW Anonymous 3:03,
If you are buying your rotisserie anywhere but Costco you are paying too much for a too small chicken!

Anonymous said...

AJ's manifesto is once again out of touch with reality. They probably could have done well if they opened up in neighborhoods where their employees and customers actually reside. The other Atlanta locations will likely close soon as well.

Anonymous said...

We need a Burger King. Please! ... Other options - Martin's, BBQ with a drive thru,Korean fried chicken - Bonchon, mini burgers - Burgerim, Jack in the Box, Italian with drive thru - Fazoli's ... Something different please. I know BK is common but no BK's around here in East Cobb.

Anonymous said...

8:57 PM you don't need to be eating Burger King. Those creepy clown sightings are government designed to keep you away from McD's and BK because the aca don't won't to pay for your unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits. Portion and mind control. Pollo Tropical is not healthy fast food. Fast food is designed to fill you up artifically deposit fat as FAST as it can. Adios PT obviously atlanta and texas don't like your food

Anonymous said...

This particular thread is so much fun kind of like the twilight zone

Anonymous said...

I actually went through their drive through one time in east Cobb, mind you, I enjoy their food, and ordered a "whole chicken" which is 8pc to them. They said, and I quote "sorry, we're out of chicken". OUT OF CHICKEN!?! This place closed due to mismanagement, clearly.

Anonymous said...

We neeeeeed a White Castle.

Anonymous said...

We neeeeeed a White Castle? Obamadontcare says NO we don't

jeff a. taylor said...

If a Bojangles went in there it would make approx $1b. a day.

Anonymous said...

No surprise they didn't make it. Mediocre food, indifferent service, meager portions all at a bad price. Hopefully, their successors will offer something unique.

Anonymous said...

Well, there was a BK, it was where Tijuana Joe's is now. Also, there was a KFC, where Moe's is now. As someone pointed out, there was a Long John Silvers in the vicinity of Pollo Tropical. And, not too long ago, there was a Boston Market where the FexEx location is (by Publix). So you see, fast food doesn't do very well along that corridor.

Anonymous said...

No ... I believe the Boston Market turned into Mama Fu's then it became The flying biscuit and now it's a lame bank.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: Boston Market,

I can't say for sure that the Boston Market became a FedEx but I do know with 100% certainty that the Mama Fu's was built as a Donatos Pizza. It later became Mama Fu's then Flying Biscuit then demo'd for the bank.

Thanks for your comments and readership.

Anonymous said...

Worst service ever.. They never got the orders correct. Took forever to fill an order..inconsistent food quality.
I agree, East Cobb needs a Fried Chicken restaurant.. KFC or even better would be a Popeye's chicken. or a long john silvers.
BK didn't do well and we had a Krystal's that also closed within a year.
A good Italian restaurant would work also since they've closed the three that were excellent in the last few years. (Giovanni's, Valenti's & Tavola)