El Pollo Loco lays golden egg after IPO

July 25, 2014, 10:06 PM UTC

El Pollo Loco, a Mexican food chain that cooks up grilled chicken, had a sizzling Wall Street debut on Friday with its shares gaining 60% in their first day of trading.

The company, which uses the ticker symbol LOCO, raised $100 million in its initial public offering on Thursday by selling 7 million shares priced at $15. At the end of trading on Friday, they had soared to $24.

With 400 restaurants, mostly in California, the chain markets itself as a healthy alternative to other fast food like Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Yum! Brand’s (YUM) KFC. It’s main competitor, however, is powerhouse Chipotle (CMG).

Whether the chain will catch flight, however, remains to be seen. Over the last three years, the company has lost $54 million and plans to use its IPO proceeds to payoff some of its $288 million in debt, according to CNN Money.

The company hopes to expand to 2,300 locations.

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