El Pollo Loco Unveils New ‘Restaurant of the Future’ Design Concept

El Pollo Loco Unveils New ‘Restaurant of the Future’ Design Concept

El Pollo Loco Unveils New ‘Restaurant of the Future’ Design Concept 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Fast-casual chain El Pollo Loco partnered with Chute Gerdeman to develop a flexible and modular prototype to meet evolving customer demands. The re-imagined El Pollo Loco restaurants have been inspired by consumers’ changing habits to enjoy a more digital-forward and contactless off-premise experience.

This new restaurant design took shape in two forms. One version entirely focused on driving business off-premise with a take-out window, dual drive-thru, dedicated curbside pick-up parking spaces, and patio seating but no indoor dining room. The second version includes a dual drive-thru, dedicated curbside pick-up parking spaces, and a smaller than standard dining room that opens up to an expansive patio through the use of flexible garage-style doors. When open, the garage doors seamlessly blend the indoor and outdoor experience and increase the comfort level of customers dining inside by enabling them to enjoy their meal in an airy, well-ventilated environment.

Versatile Experience

El Pollo Loco’s new L.A. Mex restaurants come to life with innovative features for the most seamless customer experience possible, including:

Double Drive-Thrus:

Select restaurants will feature two drive-thru lanes and digital menu boards to expedite the experience.


The back-of-house where the chicken is grilled will be fully exposed through an enlarged window in the drive-thru lane, showcasing the artisanal and culinary skills of El Pollo Loco’s Grill Masters while customers wait for their food.

Pick-Up Cubbies:

Customers will have the option to go fully contactless and pick up their mobile to-go orders from designated cubbies inside the restaurant.

GPS-Enabled Curbside:

As part of the recently launched loyalty experience, Loco Rewards™ customers will have expanded access to GPS-enabled curbside pick-up on the mobile app – allowing the opportunity to automatically alert the restaurant team that they have arrived from the dedicated pick-up parking spots for the fastest possible service.

Outdoor Seating:

A new extension to the traditional dining room, giving customers the option to enjoy dining outdoors under a covered patio.

“Where you will see our commitment to design manifest itself in the most dramatic of ways is with our new restaurant of the future. We knew we needed to create a unique concept that is anchored in technology, accessibility, and modern design elements infusing our brand history to make it easier and more rewarding to be a customer.”

– Brian Carmichall, Chief Development Officer at El Pollo Loco

Showcasing Brand Pillars

The new concepts also feature a modern interpretation of the brand’s heritage and strengths, including iconography distinct to Los Angeles and the El Pollo Loco L.A. Mex brand. To honor the brand’s heritage and highlight what makes El Pollo Loco unique, subtle brand cues permeate throughout the entire restaurant, from the cleaver door handles (which is a nod to the fact that all chicken is cut to order) to the turning fork chandeliers (which repurposes a tool of trade used by the brand’s skilled Grill Masters). Similarly, murals, imagery, and city maps evoking the brand’s 40-year Los Angeles hometown roots on the interior and exterior walls.

El Pollo Loco plans to remodel 55 stores next year with the new L.A. Mex design. “The future is now. We’re excited to roll out our evolved restaurant concept, which brings us to the culmination of the company’s three-year transformation agenda and sets us up for geographical expansion in the years ahead,” said Bernard Acoca, President and CEO, El Pollo Loco

“Working with El Pollo Loco to create this restaurant of the future has been a creatively rewarding experience. Often restaurant brands look at a singular prototype during the conceptual phase of design. In this case, we explored two customer journeys and designed an experience that catered to meet those needs uniquely. We focused on aspects of off-premise dining and considered thoughtful ways to integrate the dine-in experience in the drive-thru. For example, the large glass windows in the drive-thru showcase the Grill Master, creating a sense of theater even for the convenience customer.”

– Jeff Wietrzykowski, Chute Gerdeman, Creative Director

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