LOS ANGELES -- The Denny's Inc. restaurant chain has reached an agreement to acquire the 19 Southern California outlets of El Pollo Loco, the first and fastest-growing of a new crop of fast-food chains specializing in Mexican style charbroiled chicken.
Under terms of an agreement signed Saturday, the La Mirada-based chain will acquire the outlets from the privately-held El Pollo Loco.
Denny's also is acquiring the right to expand charbroiled chicken outlets worldwide under the El Pollo Loco name, except in Mexico, where El Pollo Loco operates 92 units in 20 cities.
A purchase price was not disclosed but Vern Curtis, president and chief exceutive of Denny's, said details of the transaction, including price, will be announced when the deal is completed.
El Pollo Loco, which translates into 'the Crazy Chicken,' was started in 1975 as a single-grill roadside operation in the small town of Guasava, Mexico, by Juan Pancho Ochoa, whose family is the primary owner of the fast-food chain.
Since 1980, when El Pollo Loco moved north across the border to Southern California, it has grown rapidly and spawned a host of imitators.
The El Pollo Loco acquisition provides Denny's, which operates 1,170 family restaurants worldwide and 860 Winchell's Donut Houses, with entry into one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.
With growth prospects for Winchell's Donut Houses slowing, Curtis said Denny's was 'looking for something in the fast-food segment that is less labor intensive with stronger economies and growth potential.'
For the year ended June 24, Denny's had revenues of $1.05 billion and net income of $40.23 million.