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Executive Q&A With Luis Javier Rodas, Managing Director and COO, Pollo Campero

Pollo Campero, the iconic Latin American-born QSR chicken brand with 350 locations around the world, is looking to accelerate U.S. growth by partnering with new franchisees to hit its goal of 250 locations by 2026. 1851 Franchise caught up with Pollo Campero’s Managing Director and COO Luis Javier Rodas to learn more.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSORED 6:18PM 09/15/21

1851 Franchise: What inspired the Pollo Campero brand?

Javier Rodas: Pollo Campero was founded in 1971 in Guatemala. We have 350 locations worldwide, including Guatemala, Italy, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain and the U.S., where we are currently expanding our franchise footprint.

But our humble beginnings started with a prized family recipe — our citrus-flavored fried chicken — that sets us apart from the competition by offering an overlap of quality and flavor, with proprietary recipes and unique sides, like yucca fries, plantains and Latin coleslaw. 

It’s that combination of complex, flavorful food made fresh with craft and fresh ingredients, and a recipe passed from generation to generation, that resonates with so many of our guests.

After more than 50 years, family is still central to the Pollo Campero culture, and it’s visible in every aspect of our business — from the families we feed to the communities we serve; our support of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to our entire franchise family, many of whom are immigrants who want to build on the incredible legacy of the brand. 

1851: Why the chicken QSR segment?

Rodas: Everyone is trying to get into the chicken category right now. The QSR chicken segment continues to outpace the rest of the industry, reaching over 30 billion dollars last year. It’s something the pandemic is likely to accelerate, as people are increasingly more focused on their health and view chicken as a healthier alternative to beef. By some estimates, people in the U.S. are eating almost twice as much chicken as they ate in the 1970s. And now, as “cooking fatigue” is setting in after more than a year of home cooking, Americans are happy to let someone else make their dinner, just as long as it’s chicken. 

1851: What makes the Pollo Campero brand stand out in the industry?

Rodas: Bringing families together is a theme at Pollo Campero, where family-sized meals can be shared for dine-in, take-out or drive-thru. 

We have very dedicated customers with a very high ticket price. Our customers spend a lot more money with us than most other brands.

The average ticket at Pollo Campero is between $23 and $25, more than twice as much as the average QSR transaction of $10.99, according to ??Delaget’s 2020 QSR Operational Index.

In addition, Pollo Campero’s operational model has proven successful for hundreds of franchisees in markets around the world. 

Pollo Campero offers an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a brand with a huge international following and proven model of success that’s now moving into the American market. Franchise investors who get on board now will have the opportunity to establish multi-units in key territories. 

In the QSR industry, there are not a lot of brands with both millions of fans and wide-open territory.

1851: What are some of the milestones in the brand’s history that have led to its success?


2002: arrived in US

2017: significant brand evolution that streamlined our operations and business model while strengthening our brand and positioning to broaden our appeal

2019: digital overhaul with rollout of completely revamped digital experience: new ecommerce platform, new Pollo Campero app with brand new loyalty program, delivery via Campero ordering channels, third party integrations

2020: thrived during the pandemic as we focused on elevating off-premise and omnichannel convenience while taking care of the health and safety of our team members and guests

1851: Who is the typical Pollo Campero customer?

Rodas: Pollo Campero enjoys a loyal following among the U.S. hispanic population. Not only is our family-centric story impactful for them, our nostalgic food brings them right back to the kitchens where they grew up, eating the kind of nourishing, home-cooked meals that evoke a powerful, multi-sensory memory of family. 

But our wholesome, flavorful menu and family-sized portions offer broad appeal, and our existing U.S. locations enjoy a diverse customer base. At a time when Americans are increasingly looking for more adventure in the food they eat, our deep, rich flavors that come from using only the freshest ingredients, bold spices and proprietary recipes offer a unique, healthy and delicious meal option.

1851: What does an ideal Pollo Campero franchisee look like?

Rodas: We look for people who are experts in their local markets, have a passion for customer service and a growth-oriented mindset — investors who have the vision, capability and thirst to open several restaurants. 

As a family-owned organization with family values as a central aspect of our culture, it’s very important for us to partner with people who are able to live those values within their organization. 

1851: What’s next for Pollo Campero?

Rodas: With a goal of reaching 250 U.S. locations by 2026, we are currently focusing our efforts on opening new locations in the southeastern region of the U.S., including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. We also have our sights set on multiple locations in Arizona and Nevada, as well as expanding in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey.

The initial cost to open a Pollo Campero franchise ranges from $887,250 to $2,126,500*. That includes a franchise fee of $40,000*. For more information, please visit:

*To see the brand’s full reported financials, please reference Pollo Campero’s Franchise Disclosure Document (updated June 7, 2021). 

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.