El Pollo Loco ended 2008 with systemwide same-store sales up 0.2 percent, leading the 417-unit grilled chicken chain to believe it had dodged the recession’s bullet. But softer sales in early 2009 proved otherwise.Like other foodservice companies, early in the year El Pollo Loco was forced to lay off about 20 percent of the chain’s support-center employees and cut back staffing hours at the unit level.Now, for the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based chain and others, the worst of the job cuts appear to ...

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