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How Portillo’s restaurants are pulling off $8.5 million plus average unit volumes

CEO Michael Osanloo shares how a servant leadership mindset leads to high-performing teams.


Scrolling through a list of the top-performing restaurant chains in America, one must give pause when viewing Portillo’s figures.

It’s in the top 100 restaurant chains by annual sales, despite having fewer than 100 locations — one of only four chains to claim that distinction, with the others being the high-end concepts Cooper’s Hawk, The Capital Grille, and Miller’s Ale House (according to Datassential figures from NRN’s 2023 Top 500).

The iconic Italian beef chain is fast casual by nature, with a good chunk of its sales coming through off-premises channels, and yet today it is managing to achieve average unit volumes north of $8.5 million (according to the company) at about 80 locations.

CEO Michael Osanloo joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about how a servant leadership mentality is behind that success and how Portillo’s maintains such a massive operation without the wheels coming off. 

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about why:

  • You should provide white-glove service to your most loyal guests
  • Strive for frictionless service in every channel you serve
  • Efficiencies can be achieved by breaking your operation down into individual parts with dedicated employees
  • Don’t move into a new market without team members who know the business inside and out
  • Have a development plan for everyone
  • Your job as a leader of a brand is to put your team in a position to succeed

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].



TAGS: Fast Casual
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