Why Did the Chicken Cross the Country? To Fill Demand for El Pollo Loco Restaurants

Famous West Coast Brand Celebrates 400th Restaurant, Nationwide Expansion with Chicken Scratch Prize Giveaway

COSTA MESA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Crazy Chicken has officially crossed the country. To celebrate the opening of its 400th restaurant, El Pollo Loco, the nation's leader in citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken, will give away prizes this month in celebration of the expansion that is turning the West Coast favorite into a national sensation.

Beginning July 7 through August 3, every person who makes a purchase at El Pollo Loco will receive a "Chicken Scratch" game card. Every card is a winner. Some prizes embrace the "400" theme in celebration of the chicken chain's journey across the country, such as a FREE 4-piece chicken meal and a $400 El Pollo Loco gift card. Other prizes include a FREE small drink, FREE 2-piece meal, FREE crunchy taco and a FREE Churro.

In 2004, the company announced expansion east of the Mississippi as part of a nationwide plan to increase its units by more than 70 percent over the next several years. Since that time, national brand recognition for El Pollo Loco is becoming a reality. El Pollo Loco has entered several new markets, including Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Portland, and most recently, Utah and Virginia. Throughout 2008, El Pollo Loco is continuing expansion into other markets around the country. Locations are set to open over the next year in California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, New Jersey, and New England.

"The opening of our 400th restaurant is a major milestone in the history of our brand and represents our momentous journey from west to east," said El Pollo Loco CEO Steve Carley, commenting on the Company's national expansion following nearly 25 years of focused growth in the west. "We have prepared El Pollo Loco for national expansion by pairing our distinctive menu with a flexible new restaurant prototype and award-winning franchise support system. As consumers across the nation increasingly seek healthier options that deliver both great value and flavor, we believe we are well positioned for national growth."

El Pollo Loco, a leading franchise of 400+ fast casual restaurants, is famous on the West Coast for its signature citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken served with warm tortillas, an assortment of delicious sides and fresh salsas, along with a wide variety of fresh, contemporary Mexican-influenced entrees.

Founded in Guasave, Mexico in 1975, El Pollo Loco, pronounced "L Po-yo Lo-co" and Spanish for "The Crazy Chicken," opened its first U.S. restaurant in 1980 and is famous for the unique preparation of its award-winning "pollo"-- fresh chicken marinated in a special recipe of herbs, spices and citrus juices passed down from the founding family. The marinated chicken is then flame-grilled, hand cut and served hot off the grill with warm tortillas, freshly prepared salsas, and a wide assortment of side dishes. Rounding out the menu are fresh flavorful entrées inspired by the kitchens of Mexico, including signature, grilled burritos, Pollo Bowl® entrees, Pollo Salads, tacos, quesadillas, Chicken Tortilla Soup, and more.

About El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco® currently operates 406 restaurants (242 franchised locations and 164 company-owned restaurants) located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, El Pollo Loco, Inc. is a privately held company owned by Trimaran Pollo Partners, LLC and management. The principal investors in Trimaran Pollo Partners are funds affiliated with Trimaran Capital, LLC and Freeman Spogli & Co. For more information about El Pollo Loco, visit the company's website at www.elpolloloco.com.

This news release contains forward-looking statements, which are statements that do not relate solely to historical fact. They include, but are not limited to, any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate or imply future results, performance, achievements or events. They may contain words such as "believe," "anticipate," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "project," "plan," "will," "should," "may," "could" or words or phrases of similar meaning. The statements reflect management's current expectations regarding future events. Risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, concerns about food-borne illnesses; negative publicity, whether or not valid; adverse public perception due to the occurrence of avian flu; increases in the cost of chicken; an ultimate adverse ruling in litigation involving El Pollo Loco-Mexico which could result in the imposition of significant monetary damages and loss of rights to the trademarks in Mexico; our dependence upon frequent deliveries of food and other supplies; our sensitivity to events and conditions in the greater Los Angeles area; our reliance in part on our franchisees; our vulnerability to changes in consumer preferences and economic conditions; our ability to compete successfully with other quick service and fast casual restaurants; and other risk factors listed from time to time in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements about the Company's past performance are not necessarily indicative of its future results. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as the result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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