May 19, 2011 |
El Pollo Loco, with flame-grilled chicken at the top of its menu, urges its customers to "taste the fire. " Now the chain itself is feeling the heat. Despite its efforts to spice up its menu offerings and boost business, the Orange County company is struggling with red ink and greater competition. The chain said last week that it had lost $4.7 million in the first quarter of 2011 partly because of a drop in sales of 2.5%. That was on top of significant losses in each of the last three years: $40 million in 2010, $52 million in 2009 and $40 million in 2008.