What is a Pollo Campero Franchise?
How a Guatemalan fried chicken chain became one of the most beloved chicken QSR franchise opportunities in the United States
Before Pollo Campero came to the United States in 2002, the millions of people who love our food would make pilgrimages to Guatemala and El Salvador, where our brand has thrived for more than five decades. On the way back into the United States, passengers would travel on airplanes carrying boxes and boxes of the glorious, flavorful fried chicken that has been our specialty since 1971.
Writing in The Boston Globe, reporter Stephanie Schorow lays out this phenomenon in an article titled, “Fast Becoming a Fan of Pollo Campero Fried Chicken.”
“In early 2001 when I was flying back from assignment in El Salvador, the aroma of fried chicken wafted through the cabin,” Schorow writes. “In overhead bins and under seats, passengers had stuffed brightly colored bags and boxes of their favorite fast food for friends and family back in Boston. That was my introduction to Pollo Campero, the fast-food chicken chain launched in 1971 by the Gutierrez family in Guatemala. Back then, the devotion to this fast food just bemused me. To my untutored nose, the smell was only that of hot chicken. For El Salvadorians, it was the aroma of home.”
This was in 2001, and one year later Pollo Campero would open the first restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
“There were lines around the block when we opened, which is a tradition that has continued with every single one of our restaurants ever since,” says Luis Javier Rodas, Managing Director and COO of Pollo Campero. “We wanted to experiment with breaking into the United States by following our customers. We knew there was a big population of folks from Guatemala and El Salvador, and we wanted to test the demand – and it turns out that the demand was much larger than we thought. This is a process we continued for the next 18 years, opening more than 65 corporate locations across the United States. In every market we entered, we were greeted with excitement from our customer base for bringing a piece of home to the places they now lived.”
In 2021, Pollo Campero has more than 70 locations open in the United States. Now as we begin franchise development in earnest, we’re actively seeking savvy entrepreneurs to join our franchise family.
This is chicken like you’ve never had it before
Best Tasting Chicken Meals
The reason why Pollo Campero has cultivated such a large, devoted following that spans several countries and continents is because our chicken really is that good. Unlike American chicken chains that put all of the flavor into the skin and ignore the meat entirely, Pollo Campero infuses every piece of chicken we serve with spices and seasonings, so that every bite is perfect. This is why our chicken is so craveable – and it’s why our sales continue to increase year after year.
Highly Differentiated Menu
Our menu is also one of the most diverse in the chicken QSR landscape. Not only do we offer perfectly fried chicken that is hand breaded, we also offer citrus grilled chicken, crispy chicken strips, salads that feature either grilled or fried chicken, empanadas, and more. Our sides also set us apart and deliver more on of the bold Latin flavors that other brands simply can’t compete with. We offer Central American favorites such as plantains, yuca fries, Campero rice and Campero beans, as well as traditional American favorites such as French fries, mashed potatoes, and garden salads.
Our focus on freshness, making food-to-order, and only using high quality ingredients is a difference you can taste.
“We make everything fresh for the customer,” says Fernando Perez, Senior Director of Operations with Pollo Campero. “We have special recipes that have been in this family for generations, which gives us a really unique flavor. The food is something that you can’t beat. It’s the reason why we’ve been so successful in breaking into the United States and winning over the crossover market.”
Today, the majority of the Pollo Campero’s customers come from the crossover market, with 45% of customers being Latino, and 55% being White, African-American, and Asian.
Our family-focused menu leads to higher sales and better customer experience
As a family-owned business, it makes sense that Pollo Campero would appeal to families – but we take it one step further by inviting the customer to feel like they are a part of our family.
When customers walk into our restaurants, they’re greeted by warm, friendly employees, bright colors and vibrant music. Our employees bring the food directly to our customers’ tables on plates and with real silverware. We fill up their drinks, and we come around to offer refills and check to see that everyone is enjoying themselves. At Pollo Campero, we want our guests to relax, share a great meal with their loved ones, and make memories. We take care of the rest.
This level of customer care is born out of our concept of R.E.I.R., the Spanish word for laughter or smiling. R.E.I.R. stands for Respect. Excellence. Integrity. Responsibility. – and we make sure our customers know that we’re there to take care of them.
“You can go to any other chain and find food, but what’s different about Pollo Campero is how we treat our customers,” says Andrea de Valle, Director of Human Resources with Pollo Campero. “The flavor that we put into our service highlights the flavor that we put into our food. Customer service is critical for us.”
The other reason why Pollo Campero franchise is able to cater directly to families is that our menu has family meals. This is a huge driver in our success, and it also works to increase the average tickets to be double that of the competition. Because we focus on family-style meals, rather than on individual tickets, Pollo Campero franchise owners get to benefit from a best-of-both-worlds scenario: being able to make families happy, while also generating more revenue on one sale at the same time.
Our Business Model is Designed for Growth
Our success is the result of our focus on the five pillars of our business model:
- The Campero Recipe for Success: Build a distinctive brand with the best tasting Chicken Meals
- Run great restaurants to serve our raving fans
- Grow restaurant profits to be the “Investment of Choice”
- Best-in-Class support and training to serve our franchise partners
- One-of-a-kind company culture
By focusing on what is important, our concept has never been stronger. As we rapidly grow across the nation, we want to franchise with entrepreneurs who want to bring more flavor to their communities and own a business that is capable of lasting growth and strong profit-potential. Owning a Pollo Campero is fun, exciting and puts you at the heart and center of your community, and with so much wide open territory available, the sky is the limit for entrepreneurs who get in on the ground floor of our U.S. expansion.
“We’ve spent the last two decades proving our business model in the United States,” says Luis Javier Rodas, Managing Director and COO of Pollo Campero. “In Guatemala and El Salvador, there’s no one that even competes with us, not even McDonald’s, but the United States is different – there’s a lot of big brands here. What makes us special is the fact that we don’t look at what other brands are doing, we’re going to grow by staying true to our roots and keeping our essence. The opportunity is tremendous. Our goal is to have 150 locations over the next three years. We’re not in a rush – we’re going to grow smart, keeping true to our vision and our strategy and by franchising with the right entrepreneurs. In time, there will be 1,000 Pollo Campero locations across the United States.”
Make Life More Flavorful by Owning a Pollo Campero franchise
Take the first step by filling out an inquiry form on this site and a member of our team will reach out to you to begin a conversation. We can’t wait to see if your dreams can be realized by owning a Pollo Campero franchise!