El Pollo Loco Inc. has named Laurance “Larry” Roberts as CEO, effective immediately, the company announced Thursday.
The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based El Pollo Loco also said Roberts will also serve as interim chief financial officer as the company conducts a search to appoint for the position Roberts has held since 2013.
Roberts succeeds Bernard Acoca, who stepped down in October to become CEO of Athens, Ga.-based Zaxby’s Operating Co. L.P.
“Larry has done an extraordinary job leading our company as our interim CEO and CFO during the past five months, navigating a challenging operating environment while making the El Pollo Loco brand stronger than ever,” said Michael G. Maselli, El Pollo Loco’s board chair, in a statement. “With his deep and detailed knowledge of our business and the industry, the board is confident in Larry’s ability to drive growth and long-term shareholder value.”
Roberts has more than 20 years of operations and financial experience in the restaurant industry, with various executive and leadership roles, including chief operating officer and chief financial officer of KFC within YUM Brands Inc., and chief financial officer of Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut joint venture in the United Kingdom.
“I am incredibly honored to assume this new role and equally thrilled for the future of the company,” Roberts said. “With the strong foundation that our team has built over the last few years, we are excited about the opportunity to move our brand forward and are ready to execute on our strategic priorities to further strengthen our business and deliver long-term growth.”
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, El Pollo Loco’s net income was $6.2 million, or 17 cents a share, up from $5.5 million, or 15 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenues in the quarter slipped to $109 million from $110.3 million in last year’s period.
Same-store sales in the quarter were up 11%.
El Pollo Loco has 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas and Utah.
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