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Pollo Campero Targets Utah for Franchise Growth

The world’s largest Central American chicken franchise has its sights set on the fast-growing Beehive State, with room to add 10 new restaurants.

Pollo Campero, the fast-casual chicken franchise with 80-plus U.S. locations and another 270 around the world, is heading to Utah. With a new strategy to reach 250 locations open by 2026, Pollo Campero is set to become one of the most dominant players in the $38 billion fast-casual chicken franchise segment. Now, the Pollo Campero team has identified Utah as a prime market for franchise expansion.

“Utah is one of the states that has shown strong economic growth over the last several years,” said Director of Franchise Development Blas Escarcega. “We’ve had interest over the years, but we’ve never really focused our efforts until now.” 

Utah was the fastest-growing state in the nation from 2010 to 2020, and that population growth hasn’t slowed down much since. Between 2020 and 2021, Utah’s total population increased by an estimated 56,291, ranking it sixth in overall population growth and second in percentage population change during that time period. The 2022 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index also ranked Utah number one for economic outlook this past year and has given the state the top spot since the rankings’ inception in 2008.

When it comes to brand recognition, Escarcega says Utah not only features a growing population of Central Americans — legacy customers who may already know the Pollo Campero brand — but also a large number of Americans who may have experienced the brand while on missionary work in the past. 

“Whether it be medical, teaching or construction, many people from Utah leave a lasting impact on their mission work in Central America,” he said. “The Pollo Campero brand is hard to miss in Central America, and many of these travelers greatly enjoyed the brand’s food and the flavors while they were there. They remember the brand, and they would be thrilled to see it come to their state.” 

This legacy flavor profile and built-in customer base ensure Pollo Campero franchisees can enter new markets with ease. In Utah and beyond, this crossover appeal — which includes both exceptional brand recognition from consumers with ties to Central America and flavor accessibility to the rest of the population — will prove to be a strong differentiator. Hispanic people are projected to reach 30% of the total U.S. population by 2050. 

Pollo Campero has also optimized its business model, innovated the menu and expanded its support infrastructure, Escarcega says, to ensure franchisees can carve out a lucrative niche and satisfy the demand for delicious chicken in markets like Utah.

Over the next five years, the Pollo Campero team hopes to open 10 locations in Utah, mostly around the city of Salt Lake City. In addition to Utah, 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 and San Diego, 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 Southern and Northern California. 

“At the end of the day, we are lacking the number of units to keep up with what our customers want,” Escarcega said. “We have some customers who must travel to visit the closest Pollo Campero, and we don’t want that. We want to plant the seeds that will eventually allow us to bring a Pollo Campero restaurant closer to every hungry customer."

Escarcega says the five-year plan is to reach 180 corporate units and 85 franchise locations. “The past few years have been incredible for Pollo Campero, and our franchise concept is all about allowing new customers to try an incredible product,” said Escarcega. “Now, as we move forward with a strategic growth mindset, we are eager to bring Pollo Campero to more communities by partnering with qualified franchisees who can build locally owned businesses they can be proud of.”

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 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.