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?
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