El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LOCO) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Mar 05, 2020 • 04:30 pm ET

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El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LOCO) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Q & A
Operator
Operator

Thank you. At this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. The first question is coming from the line of Jake Bartlett with SunTrust. Please proceed with your question.

Analyst
Jake Bartlett

Great. Thanks for taking the question. My first is really on the 800 pound of virus in the room. And the question is whether your guidance for 2020 for same-store sales is contemplating much of an impact from the coronavirus and the kind of the spread and the concern about it from consumers. But also whether -- what you're seeing now, I think investors would be curious to see what the near-term experience has been, especially as your -- you have a fairly dense concentration in the LA market?

Executive
Laurance Roberts

Yeah, Jake. So our guidance does not include any impact from the coronavirus. We've left that out of our guidance. I'd also highlight that even as of up to the day, we have not seen any impact on our sales or transactions in our restaurants.

So again, no impact that we've seen yet in our restaurants, and our guidance does not include anything on the coronavirus.

Analyst
Jake Bartlett

Okay. That's really helpful. And then, on the comments about the momentum into 2020. I know weather was a bit difficult early part of the first quarter last year. Can you provide some just context as to maybe quantify where you stand right now quarter to date, and maybe what you were comparing against, so we can get a better sense of that momentum?

Executive
Bernard Acoca

Yeah. So, again, quarter to date, we feel really good about the momentum we have in the business. I'd highlight that we are continually positive in transactions this quarter. So, we feel good.

I don't want to get into any more detail than that. But I would say, last year, the impact of the weather was somewhere probably around 50 basis points to 100 basis points as of now. That would decline as we move [Phonetic] through the quarter because March -- the weather last year was good. But the overall quarter impact will decline.

I'd also highlight that while we did have that kind of weather upside this year that -- even now in the business, we're seeing the good levels of momentum. And now we're lapping good weather versus good weather last year.

Analyst
Jake Bartlett

Got it. And then, last question is really on menu pricing and then the impact on margin. So if you could -- I know you gave us what the check was in the fourth quarter. If you could break out what the menu pricing was in the fourth quarter, and then also what you expect for menu pricing in 2020.

Executive
Bernard Acoca

Yeah. For the fourth quarter, we had pricing of around 3.7% on our business. And as we head into 2020, obviously, it could vary as we work through the year. But right now, the target, it will be somewhere around 3.5%.

That could go up or down depending on how we see the