El Pollo Loco(R) Expands Executive Team With New Innovation Post

Incumbent Senior Vice President Joe Stein assumes new position; Gary Campanaro joins the nation's flame grilled leader as Chief Financial Officer

January 22, 2009 // Franchising.com // COSTA MESA, Calif. -- El Pollo Loco, Inc. announced today that it has created a new executive management position, "Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation," to leverage innovation throughout the organization in the development of new products, processes and technology, as well as align resources around the Company's key initiatives.

Rising to the challenge of the newly created position is Joe Stein, who has served as the Company's Chief Financial Officer for more than six years. As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, Stein will develop and implement an innovation stream across El Pollo Loco and formulate best practices in innovation management-- helping to ensure that El Pollo Loco continues to stay on top of consumer and industry trends to maintain its role as a leader in the fast-casual segment.

El Pollo Loco has hired restaurant industry executive Gary Campanaro to fill the senior finance role as Chief Financial Officer. Campanaro, who most recently served as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Claim Jumper Restaurants Holdings Corp., will provide overall leadership for the financial, purchasing, quality assurance and risk management areas of El Pollo Loco. His experience also includes senior management positions at several other companies, including: The Keith Companies, Inc. in Irvine, CA; CB Richard Ellis in Los Angeles, CA; and CKE Restaurants, Inc. in Anaheim, CA.

"Today's challenging business environment, magnified by intense competition in the restaurant industry, demands that we take a thoughtful look at everything we do," said Steve Carley, President and CEO of El Pollo Loco, Inc. "The changes we have made to our senior management team will help position our brand for continued momentum as the economy comes around. Joe (Stein) is ideally suited for his new innovation role. He is a superb strategic thinker with exceptional team building skills. And we are absolutely thrilled to have Gary (Campanaro) join us as our senior financial executive. His vast financial experience in the restaurant arena will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow the brand," continued Carley.

Stein, 48, holds a bachelor degree in business administration from California State University at Long Beach with an emphasis in accounting and is a certified public accountant. Prior to El Pollo Loco, he held senior management positions at both Rubios Restaurants, Inc. and Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. Campanaro, 48, holds a bachelor degree in accounting from the University of Utah and is also a certified public accountant. Both men are based at El Pollo Loco's headquarters in Costa Mesa, California and live in Orange County, California with their families. Stein lives in Laguna Niguel and Campanaro resides in Irvine.

El Pollo Loco, Inc., a privately held company, is the nation's leading quick-service restaurant chain specializing in flame-grilled chicken. In addition to individual and family meal quantities of its famous chicken, the chain offers a wide variety of fresh Mexican entrees and operates over 400 locations (a combination of company-owned and franchised restaurants) in 13 states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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