El Pollo Loco is a restaurant chain based in Costa Mesa, California, and they specialize in fast casual mexican cuisine, especially their marinated chicken. El Pollo Loco focuses serves as an independent chain that offers catering, delivery and dine-in options.
El Pollo Loco was founded by Juan Francisco Ochoa in 1974 in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, and in 1980 he expanded the restaurant into the US. While both founded by Ochoa, El Pollo Loco’s in Mexico function independently of El Pollo Loco’s in the US.
El Pollo Loco has over 400 stores in the US, and 56% are franchised stores. El Pollo Loco stores are mainly located in south western region in the US, and they currently have about 5,600 employees.
Benefits at El Pollo Loco are mainly given to full time staff, but part time staff are given employee discounts on meals. Full time staff are offered a defined contribution pension plan, a 401k plan, and opportunities for profit sharing. They also offer full time staff paid leave, health insurance plans, and a health savings account (HSA) plan.
People enjoy working with El Pollo Loco because of the flexible hours, the fast-paced environment, and because of positive leadership amongst management positions. Several employees agree that they learned a lot from the position, especially skills in team work, and the hiring process is quick.
How old do you have to be to Work at El Pollo Loco?
El Pollo Loco requires that you are 16 years old when applying to any position in any of the franchises, regardless of which state the franchise is located in.
El Pollo Loco Careers
El Pollo Loco offers a number of career options for those applying. At each franchise, the store employs about 20 to 45 staff members, and the size of the staff is based on customer base and scheduling needs. El Pollo Loco has a variety of positions both in the front of house and in the kitchen.
Cook: Cooks at El Pollo Loco prepare and serve the citrus marinated, fire roasted chicken that the chain is known for. Cooks are expected to maintain a clean work environment and follow all food handling safety codes. Also, cooks are expected to have strong time management skills, and they are not expected to have experience.
Service Assistant: The Service Assistant assists the kitchen staff in preparing food, and they assist the front of house staff in preparing and stocking the salsa bar. This position is responsible for maintaining a clean dining area for guests, and you must be able to speak and understand english.
Each franchise hires multiple service assistants because they are crucial to the success of the restaurant. The Service Assistant is trained in several tasks that assist the kitchen and cashier staff during the day, especially during a peak business hour.
Cashier: The Cashier is responsible for welcoming guests and providing them with an excellent dining experience. This position requires the ability to speak and understand english, and you must demonstrate strong customer service skills. As cashier, you will be expected to help guests at the drive thru and in the restaurant.
The Cashier is the key to success for the restaurant because they deal with the customer by taking their order and handling payment. This position is required to have strong communication skills in order to provide a great customer experience consistently. Also, the ability to multitask and prioritize tasks is essential to success in this position.
Shift Leader: The Shift Leader is an introductory leadership role in the restaurant. This position is responsible for managing and encouraging crew members, celebrating staff successes while on the shift, and shift leaders train new staff on food safety and restaurant policies. The Shift leader is required to have worked in an El Pollo Loco restaurant for at least 1 year, and they must pass a food safety test.
Assistant Manager: The Assistant Manager helps oversee daily operations at their restaurant, and they assist in creating a great customer service experience for customers. Also, the Assistant Manager is responsible for ensuring that food safety and cleanliness standards are met by staff.
General Manager: The General Manager oversees the operations of the entire restaurant, and you oversee, train, coach, and coordinate the entire 20 to 45 member staff. Also, this position requires the manager to set sales goals, oversee the hiring process, and handle payroll and all financial documents for the restaurant.
Area Leader: The Area Leader provides leadership and support to multiple El Pollo Loco locations in an area, and they consistently visit their assigned locations to make sure they are following company and food safety policies. The Area Leader is responsible for hiring and evaluating managers, assistant managers, and shift leaders.
El Pollo Loco Application
If you would like to apply to an opportunity at El Pollo Loco, you can apply online through their talentreef portal. The company does not take in person applications, but some independently owned franchises allow in person applications.
Again, the main way to apply to any El Pollo Loco position will be to apply online through the application portal. However, some of the independently owned franchises accept in person applications, and some ask that you call the store for more information about available positions before applying.
El Pollo Loco uses an online talentreef application portal, and it is helpful to set up a profile before applying. Once you have created a profile, applications for multiple positions will be easier on you because the profile information is automatically filled in on the application.
Make sure that your resume is concise, easy to read, and in english. Also, make sure you include information about languages you speak if you are fluent in more than one language. El Pollo Loco does not require a high school degree or a GED, but they prefer that you have an education; so make sure you include your education in your resume.
Once you have applied to a position with El Pollo Loco, make sure you have a hard copy of your resume prepared in case you are called for a phone or in-person interview. The manager will call you in less than a week if your application fits their needs, and you will schedule an in-person interview. In order to have a successful interview, make sure you have answers prepared for these questions:
- Are you good with people?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your availability?
- Describe a time you made someone happy.
Things to know about El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco is a fast-paced restaurant with demanding shifts. In one shift you could be taking orders for customers, cleaning the dining area, and chopping ingredients for salsa. The staff is typically friendly, and there are plenty of opportunities for promotions.
El Pollo Loco is currently celebrating a growth in company profits, with an increase of 42% in company shares. Because of this great profit increase, El Pollo Loco is completely reimagining their brand, and they hired the CMO at Church’s Chicken, a fast casual chain competitor, in order to be the new CMO at El Pollo Loco.
El Pollo Loco is known for providing fast-casual Mexican cuisine, and they pride themselves in offering healthier chicken options that are not fried. El Pollo Loco specializes in grilled, citrus marinated chicken that is high quality at a low cost to the customer.
El Pollo Loco assists with community fundraisers, and they donate a portion of the proceeds from a specific day towards that fundraiser. Also, El Pollo Loco established a charity division that focuses on funding charities focused on language literacy, education, humanitarianism, homelessness, and hunger.