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Pollo Campero Sets its Sights on North Carolina for Franchise Growth With Room to Add 24 Units

With unmet demand, a business-friendly environment and an established supply chain, The Tar Heel State is a prime market for the Central American chicken franchise.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 03/23/23

As the $40.6 billion fast-food chicken franchise segment explodes in popularity, Pollo Campero, the fast-casual chicken franchise with 85-plus U.S. locations and another 270 around the world, is ready to expand in prime markets across the country. North Carolina, for example, is a leading target market for the brand thanks to its flourishing economic landscape, unmet demand among both legacy consumers and new fans and wide open territory availability.

“There is a significantly underserved customer base in North Carolina, and chicken is the number one favorite food of people in that part of the country,” said Director of Franchise Development Blas Escarcega. “A lot of people also are moving to the area, both from inside and outside the U.S. We have an existing knowledge and supply chain in the area, and we know it is a great business environment. Some states allow you to grow faster than others, and states in the Southeast tend to be more business-friendly with a great economic environment and reasonable cost of living.”

Regarding population, the Charlotte metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, and North Carolina itself is one of the nation’s fastest-growing states. According to a recent report by WalletHub, the state also has the seventh best economy in the nation. 

The Pollo Campero team has recognized the capacity to add 27 franchise units in North Carolina. The brand currently has three locations in the state, two in Charlotte and our newest franchise in Raleigh. Escarcega says the team looks to reinvigorate the Pollo Campero brand presence in areas where they already know there is untapped potential and is currently targeting cities like Raleigh, Rock Hill and Durham. 

“People drive from all over to go to our Charlotte restaurant, which is how we know there is a real untapped demand in the state,” said Escarcega. “There is a proven appetite for Pollo Campero in the state, and we’ve seen steadily-increasing sales with all of our existing franchise units there. Markets in the Southeast have a higher-than-average consumption of chicken as well. That is why there is such a high concentration of chicken concepts in the Southeast — people love chicken, fried in particular. It really transcends demographics. Everyone just loves chicken in the Southeast, and nobody does chicken like Pollo Campero.” 

The quick-service, grilled and fried chicken restaurant began in Guatemala as a family-owned business with a carefully crafted menu and unique chicken recipe. Today, as the world's largest Central American chicken chain, Pollo Campero boasts a legacy, flavor profile and built-in customer base, which Escarcega says ensures franchisees can enter new markets like North Carolina with ease. 

Between 2010 and 2020, North Carolina's Hispanic population grew by nearly 320,000 new residents, the largest numeric increase of any racial/ethnic group in the state. Statewide, the Latinx population grew by 40% over the decade, faster than the growth of this population nationwide (23%). This represents the third fastest growth rate among states with at least 1 million Hispanic residents in 2020. This kind of diverse customer base is ideal for Pollo Campero, which is already a major favorite amongst international customers.

“We have legacy customers — Latin American customers who know the brand from our international footprint — in markets all over the country, and those were the markets we traditionally focused on,” Escarcega said. “Now, what has happened is that we’ve expanded that legacy customer base and realized that the brand has legs to reach more mainstream consumers in the U.S. We want to maintain the legacy piece, while also bringing the opportunity to new customers and developing around the existing markets that we have.”

To ensure franchise owners can satisfy this growing and pandemic-proof demand in new markets, Pollo Campero has spent the last few years optimizing its business model, innovating the menu and expanding its support infrastructure.

“We’ve spent the past 20 years figuring out the supply chain requirements in each market we’ve operated in, making sure we can get our high-quality product to restaurants promptly,” said Luis Javier Rodas, Managing Director and COO. “Now, this will allow us to expand to nearby territories outside of those core markets.”

The Pollo Campero team says their expansion efforts will be primarily focused across the Southeast over the next three to five years, including the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North Florida. Additionally, the brand has identified a big growth opportunity in Arizona, Colorado and Utah as well as a few other markets scattered across the country. The brand will also open more corporate-owned stores, with a particular focus on California, South Florida and New York Metro. 

“For all of our legacy customers and future fans in North Carolina, we want to make the experience as convenient as possible, which is why we don’t want them to have to always travel far distances, ” Escarcega said. “We want to plant the seeds that will eventually allow us to bring a Pollo Campero restaurant closer to every hungry customer.”

Initial investments range from $1,287,250 – $2,491,500*. For more information, visit

*To see the brand’s full reported financials, please reference Pollo Campero’s Franchise Disclosure Document (updated July 13, 2022). 


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 into 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.