Pollo Campero looks to return to Phoenix, open more than 20 locations – The Business Journals

Pollo Campero, a popular Central American fast-food chain, wants to make a big push into the United States over the next five years and the company has pegged Phoenix to play a major role in that expansion.
The fried chicken restaurant started in 1971 in Guatemala and has grown to more than 300 locations across the world, mostly in Central America. The parent company of Pollo Campero, Corporación Multi lnversiones, said in an announcement earlier this year that it is beginning an “aggressive expansion project” in the U.S.
Over the next five years, CMI said it wants “250 points of sale” in the U.S. Currently there are just over 80 locations nationwide and the company wants to add 22 restaurants in Arizona by 2027.
“The Phoenix market has had great economic growth, it is a business-friendly environment, plus there’s an influx of Central Americans,” Blas Escarcega, the director of franchise development for Campero USA Corp., which is based in Dallas, told the Business Journal. “We’ve had a lot of interest in Arizona, and we’ve had people reach out to us.”
While there is a plan to open several corporate-owned Pollo Campero stores in the U.S., the growth in Phoenix is set to be done through franchisees.
A Pollo Campero franchise requires an initial investment of $1.3 million to $2.5 million, according to the company’s website. Escarcega said Pollo Campero is looking for operators who have experience running restaurants, especially in Phoenix, and groups who can open three to five units.
While Pollo Campero has not signed a deal with a franchisee in the Valley yet, Escarcega said the company is already looking at some possible sites along the I-10 corridor. Pollo Campero restaurants are about 2,500 square feet and the company prefers to be in standalone buildings with drive-thrus, Escarcega said.
“We do know people are aware of our brand in Phoenix,” Escarcega said. “The brand has recognition and as we see the demographics shifting in Arizona, we see it as a chance to bring the flavors [to the Valley].”
Besides Phoenix and Arizona, Escarcega said he’s also focusing on finding franchisees in Colorado and Utah.
The Pollo Campero menu includes fried and citrus-grilled chicken, chicken sandwiches, salad, wings, empanadas and bowls; plus sides such as corn salad, mashed potatoes, yucca fries, guacamole and desserts like flan, cookies, sundaes and soft-serve ice cream cones.
Pollo Campero is not completely new to the Phoenix market. In the mid-2000s a franchise group, led by former Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gonzalo de la Melena, opened a location in west Phoenix near Desert Sky Mall. At one point the company had said it was going to open 20 locations in metro Phoenix, but that did not work out with the former franchise group.
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