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Taco Cabana, Pollo Tropical parent to close 23 restaurants

Fiesta Restaurant Group will shutter 14 Pollo Tropical and 9 Taco Cabano units in Florida, Georgia and Texas

 Fiesta Restaurant Group, parent company of the Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical brands, said Friday it closed 23 restaurants in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The move includes the shuttering of 14 Pollo Tropical restaurants in Florida and Georgia — including all nine in the greater Atlanta region — as well as nine Taco Cabana locations in Texas, the Dallas-based company said.

The 23 restaurants contributed a combined $24.2 million in restaurant sales to the company in the 11-month period ended Dec. 2, the company said.

The closures will result in non-cash impairment charges ranging from $12 million to $13 million; in addition to lease, and other charges ranging from $3 million to $3.5 million during the fourth quarter, the company said.

“The actual amount of related lease and other charges will be based on the timing of restaurant closures,” the company said.

The company said the restaurants closed Dec. 20.

Nearly all employees affected by the closures would be offered jobs at other nearby Pollo Tropical or Taco Cabana restaurants, the company said.

The closures cap the company’s Strategic Renewal Plan, which has led to corporate layoffs and downsizing restaurants over the last two years.

Fiesta CEO Richard Stockinger said the closures allow the company to look ahead to 2019 with a renewed focus “building traffic, improving margins and rebranding Pollo Tropical for future expansion outside of South Florida.”

Initiatives in the works include new loyalty programs at both brands and operational improvements to support catering at Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana. The company is also testing third-party delivery at select Pollo Tropical restaurants.

“We continue to be optimistic about the future of Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana and are pleased with recent progress made on several growth initiatives that we believe should have a meaningful impact on our business,” he said in a statement.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2018, which does not include the current closures, Fiesta had 180 Pollo Tropical restaurants and 179 Taco Cabanas. That compares with 212 Pollo Tropical restaurants and 173 Taco Cabana restaurants as of Jan. 1, 2017.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @fastfoodmaven

UPDATE Dec. 21, 2018, with new information that the restaurants closed Dec. 20.

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