In the realm of plant-based dining, Project Pollo stands as America’s pioneering vegan chicken fast-food chain, revolutionizing the industry with its delectable plant-based burgers, wraps, and shakes. Founded by the enterprising Lucas Bradbury, Project Pollo has carved its niche despite its humble beginnings and a notable appearance on Shark Tank where, despite not securing a deal, the business has soared to an impressive net worth of approximately $50 million as of 2023.
The Visionary Behind Project Pollo
Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Lucas Bradbury’s journey to creating Project Pollo is rooted in diverse experiences. With a foundation in general studies at Kansas Wesleyan University and an economics degree from Kansas State University, Bradbury’s professional background includes pivotal roles at renowned establishments such as Pizza Hut, BRAVO BRIO, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s, and Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.
In 2017, Bradbury took the plunge into the plant-based realm, becoming a franchisee and VP of Operations at Earth Burgers. However, the idea for Project Pollo was germinated during the pandemic when a local brewery approached him to place a food truck on his property. Seizing the opportunity, Bradbury decided that his venture would be more than just a fast-food truck – it would be an environmentally conscious, plant-based haven.
The Birth of Project Pollo
Launched in 2020, Project Pollo initially focused on serving meatless chicken patties. The commitment to sustainability extended beyond the menu to include compostable bags and containers. The response was overwhelming, propelling Project Pollo to open ten locations in Texas within two years, with revenue projections reaching an impressive $10 million.
The Shark Tank Adventure
Lucas Bradbury’s bold move to pitch Project Pollo on Shark Tank in season 13 brought both attention and challenges. Seeking a $2.5 million investment for a 5% equity stake, Bradbury defended his valuation, leaving the Sharks intrigued yet cautious. Despite the Sharks’ concerns about rapid expansion, the Texan entrepreneur stood firm.
The outcome was no deal, but the exposure proved invaluable. Project Pollo, having received a significant boost in publicity, continued its growth trajectory, expanding beyond Texas to places like Colorado, Boulder, Arizona, and Las Vegas by the end of 2022.
Post Shark Tank Triumphs
Undeterred by the lack of a Shark Tank deal, Lucas Bradbury propelled Project Pollo to further success. The chain, now boasting 13 locations in Texas, added eight more in strategic locations. Looking ahead to 2023, Bradbury plans to initiate franchising, seeking partnerships with experienced restaurant operators in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
Aside from its impressive net worth, Project Pollo has garnered a stellar reputation on platforms like Yelp, boasting an average rating of 4.5 stars from 165 reviews. The vegan fast-food chain, generating an estimated $10 million in annual revenue, is not only a culinary success but also an employer committed to providing generous benefits to its staff, including health insurance and paid vacations.
In conclusion, Project Pollo’s journey from a plant-based food truck to a multimillion-dollar enterprise exemplifies the resilience and potential of sustainable dining ventures. Despite initial setbacks, Lucas Bradbury’s vision has not only defied skepticism but has also set the stage for Project Pollo to become a prominent player in the ever-evolving landscape of vegan fast food. As the company looks to the future, its commitment to innovation and sustainability remains unwavering, ensuring its place at the forefront of the plant-based culinary movement.