What to Look for in El Pollo Loco Earnings

El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LOCO) is set to report its first-quarter financial results after the markets close on Thursday. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are $0.18 in earnings per share (EPS) on $96.79 million in revenue. In the same period of last year, it posted EPS of $0.18 and $90.43 million in revenue.

El Pollo Loco, which means “the crazy chicken” in Spanish, had a very hot initial public offering in the summer of 2014 and shares have made a solid recovery from where it was back in January. The company develops, franchises, licenses and operates quick-service restaurants under the El Pollo Loco name in the United States. It offers individual and family-sized chicken meals, Mexican-inspired entrees, sides and alternative proteins.

Analysts have noted that the company has made some marketing errors, but they feel that is behind it. They also believe that management is taking the right steps to regain value customers and see continued strong cost management.

As of June 25, 2015, it had approximately 415 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. El Pollo Loco expects to open 18 to 22 company operated restaurants and 10 to 15 franchised restaurants in 2016.

In the last earnings report, systemwide comparable restaurant sales grew 1.8%, including a 1.0% increase for company-operated restaurants and a 2.4% increase for franchised restaurants.

Also in the last report, the company issued guidance for the full year. El Pollo Loco expects to have EPS in the range of $0.70 to $0.74 and systemwide comparable sales growth in the low single digits. The consensus estimates at that time called for $0.74 in EPS on $395.6 million in revenue.

So far in 2016, El Pollo Loco has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up 6%. However, from this time last year, the stock is down nearly 50%.

Shares of El Pollo Loco were trading down 1.7% to $13.18 on Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $16.57 and a 52-week trading range of $9.58 to $29.20.