El Pollo Loco Shares Soar On Market Debut

Shares of El Pollo Loco, the fire-grilled chicken specialists, were up as much as 55% as they made their NASDAQ debut Friday.

The Costa Mesa, California-based firm had sold 7.1 million shares for $US15 each in its IPO, according to a statement yesterday, after offering them for $US13 to $US15, Bloomberg said. Friday they were trading at more than $US22.

That already makes their market cap larger than Potbelly’s, another fast-casual chain that has seen its share price decline 62% since its debut in October. Potbelly’s market cap is now $US340 million compared with Pollo Loco’s $US540 million. Bloomberg’s broader quick-service restaurant index is down 1.1% this year.

El Pollo Loco was founded in western Mexico in the late ’70s. It now has hundreds of restaurants, mostly concentrated in the southwest but with some franchises elsewhere.

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