NEW YORK —Eager investors helped a handful of restaurant companies tap the equity and bond markets in the past two months, providing a sliver of hope that the financing freeze may be thawing and investors may be warming to restaurant deals. Note offerings by Real Mex Restaurants, Wendy’s/Arby’s Group and El Pollo Loco, which helped the companies shore up funds to pay down debt and finance future growth, and the purchase of Church’s Chicken by private-equity ...

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