El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LOCO) it has signed a franchise development deal with new franchise partner Listo Way Group LLC to expand the brand’s presence into Louisiana. The Lafayette, LA based franchisee will open two new restaurants in the Lafayette area by 2018. Listo Way Group LLC is operated by Lafayette native, Jason Trotter.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jason to the El Pollo Loco family and partner with him to bring our concept to residents and visitors of the Lafayette area,” said Steve Sather, President and CEO of El Pollo Loco. “Louisiana is a natural next step for our brand given our strong and growing presence in Texas. We remain focused on accelerating development and continue to seek new franchise candidates like Jason with the resources and capability to develop the brand in new markets.”

Mr. Trotter has extensive restaurant industry experience, growing up in a family that spent decades bringing quality dining options to Louisiana. Mr. Trotter is a former franchisee of the fast casual Mediterranean restaurant company Zoës Kitchen, joining as the company’s second franchisee in 2006. Over the course of nine years, Mr. Trotter successfully opened and operated five restaurants across Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. He was responsible for site selection, managing the construction process and restaurant operations.

“We could not be more pleased to join El Pollo Loco and bring the brand’s famous fire-grilled chicken to our home state of Louisiana,” said Jason Trotter. “We look forward to opening the doors of our first restaurant next year and introducing the community to El Pollo Loco’s authentic, handcrafted dishes inspired by authentic Mexican recipes.” (Original Source)

Shares of El Pollo LoCo closed last Friday at $12.59, down $0.04 or -0.32%. LOCO has a 1-year high of $15.44 and a 1-year low of $9.58. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $13.52 and its 200-day moving average is $12.90.

On the ratings front, LOCO stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 19, Jefferies analyst Andy Barish reiterated a Buy rating on LOCO, with a price target of $16, which implies an upside of 27% from current levels. Separately, on August 5, Morgan Stanley’s John Glass reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $15.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Andy Barish and John Glass have a total average return of 3.8% and 7.8% respectively. Barish has a success rate of 46% and is ranked #972 out of 4197 analysts, while Glass has a success rate of 54% and is ranked #728.

Overall, 3 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and one research analyst has given a a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $15.50 which is 23% above where the stock closed last Friday.

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. operates as a holding company with interest in managing restaurants. It operates through its subsidiary, El Pollo Loco, Inc. develops, franchises, licenses and operates quick-service restaurants under the name El Pollo Loco. The company specialize in flame-grilled chicken in a wide variety of contemporary mexican-influenced entrees, including specialty chicken burritos, chicken quesadillas, chicken tortilla soup,pollo bowls and pollo salads.