Portillo's sees consumers reaching boiling point on pricing

When lower-income diners are feeling budget strain, the fast-casual Portillo's feels it most in the drive-thru. To address that, the restaurant chain is working to get orders through car windows faster.


Portillo’s sees opportunity in catering, pickup-only stores

The Chicago-style fast casual opened 12 new restaurants in 2023, a record number, and said same-store sales rose 5.7% during the year.

Moves into high-population-growth states are driving revenue growth that company officials say will help the Chicago-based chain manage through ebbs and flows of consumer behavior.

At an Investor Day, company officials plot the 77-unit chain's path to 920 units across the U.S.

Traffic dropped in the second quarter, but the company said consumers still see the Chicago-based brand as a great value and there's room for price increases.

And in other fast-casual highlights from investor conferences: Portillo's is killing it in the Sun Belt, and Potbelly is carrying momentum into 2Q.

The hot dog chain said it is considering restaurants in airports and overseas after finding surprisingly strong demand in new markets.

Sales at the first Lone Star state location are averaging a "crazy" $48,000 per day since opening in January, fueling optimism about growth across the Sun Belt.

More ICR tidbits: The Italian beef and hot dog chain shows why soft opens are important; some skepticism on the Red Robin grills plan; El Pollo Loco wants more kids and an unexpected interruption.

The hot dog and Italian beef chain is opening most of its new locations in Southern states like Florida, Arizona and Texas, where its restaurants have performed well.

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