San Antonio's buzzy vegan chicken fast-food chicken chain Project Pollo has been acquired. According to founder/owner Lucas Bradbury, the chain was approached by a national group who will acquire their infrastructure, team, leadership, and locations.
Bradbury did not identify who the chain was, but described it as being similar to Zoes Kitchen and CAVA, and said that the transition from Project Pollo to new concept would begin in mid April.
The acquisition affects all locations except for the Rosewood location in Austin, which will continue to operate as a vegan fast-food spot, although possibly under a different name.
Bradbury called it "bittersweet."
"This is a bittersweet moment as a founder," he said. "On one hand, a huge win, and on the other, falling short of the mission we set out to accomplish. Nonetheless, we are moving forward and locations will turnover operation due to the terms of the deal between April 16 and April 30."
Bradbury founded Project Pollo in 2020 to be just like a fast-food chicken restaurant in every way except the food was entirely vegan, combining plant-based affordability, convenience, and sustainability.
The menu featured vegan chicken sandwiches, wraps, and strips, plus loaded French fries, mac & cheese, available plain or topped with chicken nuggets, burgers, and milkshakes.
The company appeared on Shark Tank and expanded quickly, some might say too quickly, opening locations in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Las Vegas. The food was well received, but the chain experienced some of the usual mid-pandemic issues in service and consistency.
In February, Bradbury ruffled some vegan feathers when he debuted a new concept called Side Chicks at 303 San Pedro Ave., which served Project Pollo's menu of plant-based sandwiches, salads, and oat milkshakes, side-by-side with real chicken options including a Nashville hot sandwich, nuggets, wings, and a Caesar wrap.
At the time, he said he expanded the menu to keep the business afloat.
The acquisition schedule for locations so far is as follows:
- Project Pollo, 9390 Huebner Rd., April 7
- Project Pollo, 9519 San Pedro Ave. San Antonio, April 30
- Project Pollo, 4814 Greenville Ave Dallas, April 30
- Project Pollo, 2438 W Anderson TBD
The acquisition will also include Side Chicks, which will transition on April 16.
Bradbury said that the status on the remainder of their locations will be announced at a later date.
"Our team will remain available for 60-90 days post closure to ensure we have all loose ends buttoned up including shipping all pre-orders for Chikn Nuggets, redeeming gift cards, and being available if any W2-C are needed.
"Our Rosewood location will remain in operation and focus on innovation and curating menus that fit what we are passionate about," he said. "It has been nothing short of an exceptional ride and we are thankful to the community that has been such a huge part of our success."