Portillo's plans for 920 new locations nationwide in the next 20 years

The Oak Brook-based Portillo's chain has upped the ante on growth, planning to open 920 new locations nationwide in the next 20 years.

The new goal, shared with investors Tuesday, includes 800 full-scale restaurants, up from the 600 company officials targeted after going public in 2021. The other 120 restaurants would be pickup, walk-up and drive-through only locations.

President and CEO Michael Osanloo said most of the new restaurants over the next few years will be in Texas, Florida and Arizona. Next, officials will look at Georgia, Colorado and Nevada, places where there is high demand for their Shop & Ship food products.

"We're going where people are, we're going where people are moving, we're going where people are demanding our food," Osanloo said during the 2023 Investor Day meeting. "Our strategy is to go where the growth is."

The hot dog and Italian beef chain currently has 77 restaurants in 10 states and will be up to 84 by the end of the year.

Osanloo said they're being disciplined about the growth.

"We're accelerating it because we have the playbook in place now to start to accelerate. Our site selection is driving attractive results," he said.

The restaurant has opened four new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area within the past year, with another opening in early 2024.

"We open restaurants. We expect them to be open forever. We don't close restaurants," Osanloo said. "So, when we build a restaurant, we've got to be incredibly confident that it's going to be a success."

The company went public in October 2021, raising $405 million with its initial public offering. Shares were trading at about $15.70 on Friday, down around 2% since Tuesday's presentation and about $8 from their IPO price.

Company officials said their optimism is based on numerous factors that have streamlined their processes. They're standardizing their base prototype building, which will have a smaller footprint, going from 7,700 square feet to 5,500 to 6,000. They've also created a more efficient workspace that will require fewer employees at peak volumes.

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