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El Pollo Loco revenue beats; earnings in line

David Livingston | Getty Images

El Pollo Loco—the quick service restaurant branded around serving real food at reasonable prices—reported quarterly earnings that were in line with analysts' expectations on Thursday, boosted by a 6 percent increase in revenue.

The company posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 16 cents per share on $87 million in revenue, up from $82 million a year ago.

Shares rose more than 5 percent after the announcement.

System-wide comparable store sales rose 5.4 percent during the quarter. At company-operated stores, comparable store sales increased 5 percent, driven by a nearly 3 percent increase in average check size and a 2 percent increase in customer traffic.

Analysts had expected El Pollo Loco to report adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share on $86 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

This is the restaurant's chain first quarterly report as a public company. Since its debut, shares have more than doubled.

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"As a result of our successful IPO, we have strengthened our capital structure to provide the financial flexibility to accelerate the growth of our business," CEO Steve Sather said. "Our success continues to be driven by our compelling value proposition and the growing appeal of healthier, better for you offerings found on our menu."

Net income rose to $6.6 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, versus $410,000, a penny per diluted share, in the year earlier period.

The company includes more than 400 company-owned and franchised restaurants that sell Mexican-inspired entrees and specialize in citrus-marinated fire-grilled chicken.

It expects to open 9 to 11 company-owned stores and 4 new franchised restaurants this year.

—By CNBC's Karma Allen

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