There has been a noticeable slowdown in the number of restaurant chains that are signing pledges to only source broiler chicken meat that meets Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards.
Since the beginning of October, a commitment tracker webpage earlier pointed out to me by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) staff members, has only added 10 restaurant chains to the list. And most of those are obscure, regional chains. In fact, I have never eaten at any of those chains, and with the exception of Pollo Tropical, I had never even heard of them prior to reading the list.
But now it appears that Pollo Tropical, as well as Taco Cabana, will have fewer restaurants in the not-so-distant future. Both are newer additions to the list and are both owned by Fiesta Restaurant Group.
Just prior to Christmas, Fiesta announced its intent to close 14 Pollo Tropical locations, and nine Taco Cabana locations. Not that long ago, Pollo Tropical also closed all of its Texas locations.
The closure of 23 restaurants may not have a substantial impact on the broiler supply chain, especially when you think about many of the other chains on the list, such as Burger King, Schlotzky’s, Subway and Ruby Tuesday have a larger footprint and bigger impact on the poultry industry.
But those restaurant closures make me think about something: What is the future of any of those restaurants that have pledged to source chicken that meets GAP criteria?
Think about it for a minute. Most of those restaurant chains committed to make the transition by 2024. That’s six years. Six years ago, the two store chains I probably shopped at the most were Alco and Kmart. But not everyone shared my store preferences. Alco has since closed all of its stores and is now out of business, and all signs, sadly, point to Kmart likely doing the same.
In the grand scheme of things, six years may not seem like a long time, but in the world of business, an awful lot can happen in that seemingly short span of time.