COSTA MESA, CALIF. — Marketing officials with El Pollo Loco announced the company plans to challenge KFC to a public, side-by-side taste test to determine which restaurant offers the best grilled chicken products. The challenge is part of a TV advertising campaign scheduled to begin later this month, to encourage consumers to compare the companies’ products.

"We know our El Pollo Loco flame-grilled chicken is the real thing, and we will not let our ‘grilled’ chicken opponent pull the feathers over the public’s eyes with a product that is cooked in an oven with no open flames," said Steve Carley, chief executive officer of El Pollo Loco. "Our expert cooks have been grilling chicken for more than 30 years and we are so sure that our flame-grilled chicken is superior, we can’t wait to prove which chicken has authentic grilled flavor and which is all smoke and no fire. Let’s see if our opponent is too chicken to go it toe-to-toe — or rather leg-to-leg — in a taste test. You just can’t fake the taste an open flame gives fresh, natural marinated chicken — certainly not when you use an oven for grilling."

El Pollo Loco officials are inviting customers to "Taste the Fire" for free at its restaurants April 28 until 8 p.m. People who ask to Taste the Fire will be given two free pieces of El Pollo Loco’s citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken (leg and thigh) plus two tortillas and fresh salsa.