On the move: Q1 restaurant exec changes

El Pollo Loco taps Church’s, Popeyes veteran as CMO

Hector A. Muñoz replaces Ed Valle at the California-based chicken chain

El Pollo Loco has named Hector A. Muñoz, a former executive at rival chicken brands Church’s Chicken and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, as its new chief marketing officer.

Muñoz replaces Ed Valle who stepped down earlier this year after seven years with the chain. Muñoz will start Dec. 3.

Hector Muñoz
Photo: El Pollo Loco

Muñoz joins the company from Atlanta-based Church’s Chicken, where he held the title of executive vice president and global CMO since March 2017. Before that, he spent six years as CMO at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, another Atlanta-based quick-service chicken chain.

“Under his leadership, Church’s Chicken recorded five consecutive quarters of positive global same-store sales, the best performance of its kind in more than 10 years,” El Pollo Loco said in a statement released Tuesday morning.

At Popeyes, Muñoz saw similar success “where he played a key role in achieving 24 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales,” El Pollo Loco said.

Muñoz, a Los Angeles native, previously served in executive roles at Burger King Corp., Long John Silver’s and Bruegger’s Bagels.

CEO Bernard Acoca called Muñoz a “talented marketing executive with a proven track record of driving brands.”

“As we continue to strengthen our leadership team, Hector’s significant industry experience and knowledge, paired with his strong leadership skills, will be instrumental as we elevate our marketing to grow the love our customers have for the El Pollo Loco brand,” Acoca said in a statement.

Muñoz will oversee all marketing and brand strategy functions, including menu and new product development for the brand’s more than 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants. He steps in at a crucial time as the company plans launch a brand refresh in early 2019.

The changes, discussed briefly in the chain’s last earnings call, will focus on dinner, delivery and family meals aimed at Hispanics, who are the brand’s most loyal customers.

“I am joining the El Pollo Loco family during an exciting time,” Muñoz said in a statement. “It is an honor to join El Pollo Loco to support their people-first mission and culture.”

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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