El Pollo Loco announced today it has signed an agreement with franchise entrepreneur Amer Hammoud and Hammoud Inc. to develop three El Pollo Loco restaurants in Texas by 2008. Mr. Hammoud has agreed to develop an El Pollo Loco location in Williamson County and two in Travis County with the first to open in the summer of 2006 and the third to open by summer of 2008. “El Pollo Loco is thrilled to have Mr. Hammoud, a seasoned restaurant developer, as part of our franchise team,” says Marcelino Contreras, director, franchise development for El Pollo Loco. “Mr. Hammoud has extensive experience in developing and opening restaurants from the ground up and we look forward to the critical role he will play in driving El Pollo Loco’s expansion into Texas .” Contreras also noted that Mr. Hammoud is currently a franchisee for Denny’s, Bennigans, and Quizno’s.

“I’ve been in business in the Austin market for a number of years and understand what works here. The El Pollo Loco concept is an excellent match for this market. It offers quality products and competitive pricing that will allow us to successfully compete with other quick-service chains and fast casual restaurants. It is an economy resilient operation which fits this market,” says Amer Hammoud.

Last year, El Pollo Loco announced its first major expansion east of the Mississippi River with an aggressive initiative to promote multi-unit franchise ownership in new markets around the country. Initial expansion plans are expected to add 130+ franchise-operated locations in the southwest, Midwest, and eastern United States by 2009.

All three Texas El Pollo Loco locations are slated to conform with El Pollo Loco’s ‘Next Generation’ prototype, which was recently rolled-out at a new location in the Los Angeles market and designed to have broad demographic appeal in new markets, design flexibility to deliver maximum returns in end cap, in-line, drive-thru and freestanding formats and to drive continued national growth of the 25-year-old proven concept. The new design highlights El Pollo Loco’s fresh, citrus-marinated chicken being cooked on the grill and creates an open atmosphere that encourages customers to relax, stay longer and enjoy the unique El Pollo Loco dining experience.

“The ‘Next Generation’ El Pollo Loco restaurant was strategically designed to maximize operational efficiency and support the growth of franchisees across the entire range of available real estate formats as we grow the El Pollo Loco brand nationally,” says Stephen Carley, CEO of El Pollo Loco. “It was 25 years ago that we introduced our signature flame-grilled chicken to U.S. consumers. Through our new prototype, we’re able take our legendary product into the next century with a contemporary look and feel that brings to life the coveted ‘sweet spot’ that El Pollo Loco owns- fast-casual food quality with quick-service convenience.”

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