US fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain El Pollo Loco Holdings has reported a net income of $4.4m, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023, down from $6.5m, or $0.18 per diluted share, in the previous year.

For the quarter ended 27 December 2023, total revenue was $112.2m, down from $115.9 million in the same quarter of 2022.

The company’s income from operations saw a reduction to $7.5m from $9.5m in Q4 2022.

El Pollo Loco’s adjusted net income was $5.2m, or $0.16 per diluted share, which remained consistent with the $6m, or $0.16 per diluted share, reported during the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Revenue from company-operated restaurants in Q4 2023 decreased to $94m, compared to $99.6m in Q4 2022.

The decline was primarily attributed to a $5.8m decrease in revenue following the sale of 18 company-operated restaurants to existing franchisees.

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Franchise revenue saw a significant increase of 17%, reaching $11m in Q4 2023.

El Pollo Loco has announced plans to expand its footprint by opening two new company-owned restaurants and five to seven new franchised restaurants in 2024.

The brand has appointed Elizabeth Williams as its new CEO and as a member of the board, effective from 11 March 2024.

Williams will take over from Maria Hollandsworth, who served as interim CEO since 3 November 2023.

Hollandsworth has been appointed as president of the company and will continue her role as the chief operating officer.

Hollandsworth said: “We are pleased with the progress our team has made during the fourth quarter as they execute against our initiatives geared toward top-line growth and profitability improvements.

“As we look into 2024, we aim to lean into what makes El Pollo Loco unique – our one-of-a-kind, better-for-you marinated flame-grilled chicken that delivers a truly special flavour that our customers crave.

“Through menu innovations, marketing initiatives and renewed focus on four-wall operational excellence, we will build upon the foundation we have laid down last year to unlock the immense potential we have ahead of us.”