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Pollo Tropical same-store sales start to recover

Sister chain Taco Cabana’s transactions fell 11.3% as the company moves away from discounts.

Same-store sales rose 1.1% at Pollo Tropical in the first quarter ended April 1, according to preliminary results that parent company Fiesta Restaurant Group released this week, as the Caribbean chicken chain shows signs of recovery after a two-year downturn.

Sister company Taco Cabana, meanwhile, reported a 1.7% decline in same-store sales in the period. The company reported an 11.3% decline in transactions, along with a 9.8% increase in average check, as the company focused on a more “high-quality” menu and a shift away from deep discounting.

“We are encouraged by the improving sales trajectory across our two brands,” CEO Richard Stockinger said in a statement.

Pollo Tropical’s same-store sales included a 2.3% decrease in transactions, but a 3.4% increase in average check.

Still, it was the chain’s first quarter of positive same-store sales since 2015, a period in which the chain shut down stores and abandoned its effort to build out the Texas market.

In 2017, Pollo Tropical’s system sales declined 11.2% and its unit count declined 15.4%, according to Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. Taco Cabana’s system sales declined 8.3%.

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