WHY I BOUGHT
Why This Trial Lawyer and Multi-Unit Pollo Campero Franchisee Has Big Plans To Expand the Brand’s Footprint Throughout Georgia
After introducing the chicken franchise to Atlanta over a decade ago, Richard Summers and his wife and business partner, Mavel, have built a dedicated customer following and are excited to continue growing as the brand looks to hit its goal of 250 units open in the U.S. by the end of 2026.
Pollo Campero, the fast-casual chicken franchise with 50-years of proven success, has successfully grown its footprint to feature more than 80 U.S. locations and another 270 around the world thanks to dedicated franchisees like Richard Summers.
Summers has been a trial lawyer in the Atlanta area for more than 40 years. When his wife, Mavel, a native of Honduras, introduced Summers to Pollo Campero’s beloved chicken on a trip home to visit family, the husband-and-wife pair decided to invest in the brand and bring it to Atlanta for the first time. Now, after seeing the brand’s record-breaking sales and impressive franchise growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Summers said they are ready to further expand their footprint in Georgia and beyond.
Discovering the Pollo Campero Franchise Opportunity
While Summers has decades of legal experience under his belt, he said franchising has always been in his blood.
“In my teenage years I worked at a fast-food location, and the franchise owner was a real mentor to me,” said Summers. “I always had it in my DNA that I enjoyed the fast-food business and the whole franchising idea, but I went to law school and my career took me down that path. My wife, Mavel, and I got married in 2001, and she’s from Honduras. She’s a superhero. She’s the first person in her family to go to college in Honduras. She became an industrial engineer and worked in a number of different countries, and she was appointed by the president of Honduras to become special counsel to the city of Atlanta.”
When the duo decided to expand their careers toward business ownership, they started looking for the perfect franchise that would allow them to utilize their respective skill sets. They decided on restaurant ownership but still needed to find the right concept.
“My wife and I had been in Honduras visiting her family, and I saw the Pollo Campero logo, the chicken with a cowboy hat,” said Summers. “My wife said, ‘That’s the best chicken you’ll ever have.’ I said, ‘That’s ridiculous. I grew up in the South, so I know what good chicken is.’ I tasted it, and it was phenomenal. I thought, how great it would be if we could bring it back to the USA? We came back to Atlanta and found out the brand was already in the U.S. They already had stores in the big cities, but not in Atlanta. My goal was to introduce the brand to our community.”
Pollo Campero began in Guatemala as a family-owned business with a carefully crafted menu and unique chicken recipe, eventually growing to hundreds of locations throughout the world and becoming the world’s largest Latin American-born chicken chain. Over the past 20 years, the brand has extended its reach and successfully established itself as a beloved concept in the U.S., with more than 80 restaurants currently in markets throughout the country.
Why Franchisees Like Summers Are Thriving With Pollo Campero in the U.S.
Since signing on with the brand over a decade ago, the Summers’ have grown their portfolio to feature two Pollo Campero locations in the Atlanta area under the ownership group Madrid Group, Inc. When it comes to why they’ve seen multi-unit success with the Pollo Campero brand, Summers points to three overarching reasons — what he calls the “three Ps.”
For one, he said, it's about passion.
“There’s a passion for this brand in the U.S. that’s really catching on,” Summers said. “Pollo Campero internationally is well-known, especially in Central and South America, as the only brand that sells both grilled chicken and fried chicken on the bone. So we have a loyalty from the Central American people, particularly, that is phenomenal because they know we are the only place to get that offering in the U.S. It’s almost like the country identifies with the brand, and you have to really be in the restaurant to know how strong this is. It would be like me opening the first McDonald’s in China, and you have 100 people saying, ‘Oh wow, we can get McDonald’s here now.’ They flock to us because of good memories growing up with the brand. It’s a crazy phenomenon that I didn't understand until I saw it with my own eyes.”
The second factor, Summers said, is the people.
“The brand has a great team in Dallas that runs the U.S. operations, and they have an in-depth understanding of the brand and how to communicate with franchisees,” he said. “I'm on the national advisory council, and we have open forums with the leadership from time to time to bounce around ideas. That's been great. The people element was a big draw for me and my wife.”
Lastly, Summers said Pollo Campero’s profitability sets it apart.
“This brand has the ability to produce sales on par with any of the best QSRs,” he said. “The business model also really works for us. My wife runs the operational part of the business, and I run the financial side. The quality control is very high, and we work hard to keep it to that standard.”
Over the past few years, Pollo Campero has optimized its business model, innovated the menu and expanded its support infrastructure. This franchisee-forward approach, along with the brand’s rabid fanbase, allowed Pollo Campero to see an impressive four consecutive years of same-store sales increases, including a record-breaking year in 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Why Pollo Campero Is Well-Positioned for the Future
Looking ahead, Summers said his goal is to eventually taper down his law practice and spend all his time growing the Pollo Campero business with his wife.
“The brand has aggressive plans to grow its number of stores in general, and we want to be right in the middle of that,” said Summers. “Our plan is to open a number of units in and beyond Atlanta. That's our immediate horizon — to come up with a growth plan that’s realistic but aggressive. We feel like the Pollo Campero brand is at a turning point, and the future is very bright.”
Following the brand’s recent success and its proven ability to withstand even the toughest economic times, Pollo Campero is ramping up strategic franchise development efforts in markets like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Pollo Campero is looking for qualified, passionate, multi-unit franchisees like Summers to help reach its goal of hitting 100 units by next year and 250 by the end of 2026.
“The past few years have been incredible for Pollo Campero, and we’ve been grateful to have the ongoing support of our fans,” said Luis Javier Rodas, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. “Now, as we move forward with a strategic growth mindset and look to hit 100 units by next year and 250 by the end of 2026, 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 $887,250 - $2,126,500*. For more information, visit: https://camperofranchise.com/
*To see the brand’s full reported financials, please reference Pollo Campero’s Franchise Disclosure Document (updated June 7, 2021).