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El Pollo Loco to Expand to Chicago Area

Irvine-based El Pollo Loco Inc. said it had struck an agreement to open its first restaurants east of the Mississippi. The quick-service chicken chain signed a pact with Fortis Restaurant Development Inc. to open at least 10 restaurants in and around the Chicago area starting late this year.

El Pollo Loco also is courting franchisees elsewhere in the Midwest and East to meet its goal of 130 new locations over the next five years. Such a move would increase the number of franchised units to 308 from 178, a 73% increase.

El Pollo Loco currently operates 314 restaurants in four states -- California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

-- Melinda Fulmer

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