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Pollo Campero Franchisees Start Small So They Can Grow Big

The fast-growing chicken franchise avoids massive multi-unit signings to ensure every franchisee is fully equipped to succeed before scaling.

By Ben Warren1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 03/18/22

Plenty of franchise brands garner press by announcing massive, multi-unit, multi-territory signings with well-capitalized franchisee groups who plan to open their locations over multiple years, sometimes decades. But how many of those blockbuster deals actually come to fruition? Most serve only to provide a PR-focused shot in the arm for the brand before petering out after a handful of units. In some cases, franchise brands will even sue franchisees who are unable to live up to their over-ambitious franchise agreements. Pollo Campero, the fast-casual chicken franchise, has grown steadily and substantially in its 30-plus years in operation, establishing more than 270 locations in markets around the world and another 81 in the U.S. The brand has achieved that growth by focusing on small initial agreements with franchisees before helping them scale their business over the course of their partnership with the brand.

“We have heard many stories of people who sign for 50 stores, and then they maybe do 20 and because of that, [the franchisor] says, ‘You agreed to do 50, and you are at fault.’ Our business is not about suing our partners or making anyone at fault,” said Luis Javier Rodas, Pollo Campero’s Managing Director and COO in a recent video webinar. “We want everyone to be very successful, and because of that, we put all of the systems and the structure together to make everyone successful. If someone is willing to do maybe five stores in three years, that’s fine — let’s sign for five stores, and once you have opened those five, we can sign another three, another five, another ten … because at the end of the day, we want to keep the wheel moving.”

Prioritizing smaller-scale franchise agreements is just one of the ways Pollo Campero takes a cautious, strategized approach to franchise development. Blas Escarcega, Pollo Campero’s Director of Franchise Development, says the brand’s development team targets growth in small, concentric circles around existing locations, ensuring that each new unit benefits from the same support and resources that proven locations depend on.

“It’s very hard to manage one store here and another store there, so we want to stay coordinated,” said Rodas in the same webinar.  “We have put many resources into our supply chain in order to assure that we will get our product in a timely manner to all the restaurants.” 

To maximize not only franchisees’ early success but also their ability to scale in the long term, Rodas, says Pollo Campero’s development team leverages critical data to ensure every new Pollo Campero location is established in the most favorable location.

“Our market plans go beyond demographics and key economic indicators. Population growth, consumer spending and market saturation are important, but we've evolved our focus to identify the best possible trade areas by leveraging mobility data, consumer psychographics and needs states as well as robust AI-enabled models,” he said. “We plan to open new restaurants where Pollo Campero is well-positioned to thrive based on demographics and previously successful stores.” 

Now, Pollo Campero is leveraging that deliberate, franchisee-focused growth strategy to partner with new franchisees and expand the brand’s footprint in markets across the country, aiming to open 250 restaurants in the U.S. by the end of 2026.

“We’re not going to be hasty — we’re going to grow in a smart way, keeping true to our vision and our strategy by franchising with the right entrepreneurs,” Rodas said. “In time, there will be 1,000 Pollo Campero locations across the United States.”

Initial investments range from $887,250 - $2,126,500*. For more information, visit:

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


Pollo Campero is a fast-casual restaurant chain focused on delighting guests with better-chicken-offerings. Through its flavor and quality, Pollo Campero offers a unique and convenient feel-good eating experience for individual, group/family and catering occasions. Chicken entrees can be ordered either Campero Fried or Citrus-Grilled, bone in or boneless and paired with an array of fresh sides, drinks and desserts for a complete meal. Pollo Campero started as a small family-owned restaurant in Guatemala in 1971, and has grown to one of the biggest chicken chains in the world.

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