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In this position, Watanabe will oversee all computer and communications technologies at El Pollo Loco. She will also lead the implementation of new technology systems for the growing Mexican chicken chain, which is expanding across the nation and plans to open up to 50 new restaurants in 2008.
Prior to joining El Pollo Loco, Watanabe served as chief information officer for BowTie Incorporated, the leading producer of pet and animal magazines. There, she led the company’s information technology strategies and policies, including the software and hardware for application development and the corporate server infrastructure. Prior to BowTie Incorporated, Watanabe held senior management positions with Friend Communications, Inc., Canon U.S.A., Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. and Rockwell International.
“Allison brings remarkable passion and drive to El Pollo Loco, along with a wealth of expertise in delivering corporate system solutions that reflect her keen leadership, creativity and vision,” says Joseph N. Stein, chief financial officer for El Pollo Loco, Inc. “Her ability to identify and implement new technology systems that will fuel El Pollo Loco’s national expansion is pivotal to our success in the years ahead.”
Watanabe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and an MBA from the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. She also serves as mentor to students enrolled in the graduate program at the University of California, Irvine. Watanabe is based at El Pollo Loco’s headquarters in Costa Mesa, California and resides in Laguna Niguel with her family.
El Pollo Loco is the nation’s leading quick-service restaurant chain specializing in flame-grilled chicken.