In 2020, Project Pollo started as a food truck serving plant-based food in San Antonio, Texas. It has been on a tremendous upward trajectory since then. The founder and CEO, Lucas Bradbury, appeared on season 13 of ‘Shark Tank‘ to present his ambitious plans for the business and how his objective is to offer quality and accessibility to his consumers. So, if you’re wondering how Project Pollo is doing now, here’s what we know!
Project Pollo: Who Are They and What Do They Do?
Lucas grew up in Kansas and, ironically, on a farm raising chickens and cattle. Having worked for several franchises as a high-level executive, he has extensive experience in the food industry. After Lucas moved to Texas, he planned to work for Wing Stop. But in March 2021, he revealed to San Antonio Current that, “Something about that job just didn’t feel quite right. It made sense then to move on to something that was closer to what I believe in.” After all, Lucas has been a plant-based eater since 2015.
So, Lucas started Project Pollo as a food truck in San Antonio and then set up a restaurant in Austin, Texas, in September 2020. He offers plant-based food at Project Pollo, and the “chickn” that forms the part of their many dishes is a plant-based product from Tindle, a company in the Netherlands. As for the cheese replacement for their mac and cheese, a cashew-based substitute is used.
While the restaurants serve fast food, Lucas hasn’t marketed them as such. In a conversation with The Dallas Morning News, Lucas explained, “We call it convenient consumption. Fast food has a bad stigma because it’s also labeled as unhealthy — bad for the environment, bad for you. We’re trying to be fast-casual with real, curated menu items that are made from scratch that you can get through a drive-through.”
When Lucas started Project Pollo, his priority was always putting the people first. He strived to provide employees medical, dental, and vision insurance in addition to sick leaves and adequate pay. In his interview with San Antonio Current, Lucas added, “I think that as long as we’re doing right by our people and our community, we will always have a place to grow our brand.” His goal for Project Pollo is to rival the likes of Chick-Fil-A.
Where is Project Pollo Now?
In the first fifteen months after its inception in September 2020, Project Pollo opened 13 restaurants in various cities in Texas, including Houston and Dallas. Lucas valued his company at around $50 million and hoped to double the number of restaurants by the end of 2022. In the episode, he asked the Sharks for a $2.5 million investment in exchange for a 5% share.
Consumers can dine-in, order online, or use the drive-through to try out Project Pollo’s food. They offer wraps and burgers in addition to Chickn wings and popcorn. The restaurant also has options for sides, milkshakes, and breakfast. Almost all the items are priced under $10. Moreover, if customers order the Original Project sandwich, $1 goes to an animal charity.
Lucas even created the People Project, where customers can pay whatever they can afford for specific items on the menu. A donation of $5.50 (not compulsory) would then reserve two sandwiches for others in need, in addition to the sandwich one would already get. Lucas plans to expand aggressively, with the hope of growing to 100 restaurants by 2025. His immediate plans include wanting to open plant-based restaurants in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona, in late 2022, with Florida coming up the following year.