Pollo Campero Parent Makes Massive Investment to Expand in North America

October 27 2022

Chicken chain Pollo Campero wants to open 100 more units in the United States as part of an investment by its parent company.

As part of a strategic plan for the three next years, Guatemala-based conglomerate Corporación Multi Inversiones, or CMI, is investing $1.8 billion in its businesses across 16 countries.

The investment will encompass a variety of projects, ranging from sustainability efforts at is production facilities to opening more units for its branded companies, including chicken chain Pollo Campero. CMI intends to use $190 million to open 100 Pollo Campero locations in the United States.

Today, the 51-year-old brand has 77 units in 16 states, with a large presence in the southern part of the country; it has another 275 international locations. Systemwide sales were $584 million in 2021 and the brand is ranked No. 149 on the Franchise Times Top 500.

According to Director of Franchise Development Blas Escarcega, the investment will have the brand grow in the south with openings from coast to coast.

“We’re really focused on areas that complement our base and have economic growth,” Escarcega said. This includes Texas markets such as El Paso and San Antonio, San Diego, as well as states such as Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Escarcega said there will also be a focus in the southeast.

“It’s the fried chicken capital of the U.S.,” Escarcega said. “They love fried chicken there and we’ve had successful franchisees there who’re in the market. We plan to expand on that in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.”

To push that expansion, Pollo Campero will need more franchisees and to get growth going with its existing operators. Managing Director and COO Luis Javier Rodas said 20 percent of the units in the U.S. are franchised, but the long-term goal is to increase the amount to 40 percent.

“We have successful partners committed to growing the brand after performing very well,” Escarcega said. “They are working with us to develop more in their markets. I’m also recruiting new franchisees into the system, and the key will be to partner with the right ones who have the attributes we’re looking for, whether it’s capital, attitude, the ability to work collaboratively and the skillset to be able to grow the brand.”

Interest is already blooming from potential operators, he said. “We’re getting a lot of interest with different multi-unit franchisees,” Escarcega said. “People who have read about us, who have seen some of the successful openings we’ve had lately and they want to be part of that. It’s really exciting.”

Of the $1.8 billion investment, the majority of it is going toward the parent company’s CMI Foods division, with $1 billion dedicated to the sector. The wide-ranging CMI Foods portfolio includes wheat flour mills; pasta, cracker and cookie manufacturing; poultry and swine production, processed meats; and nutritional animal production and pet foods. Along with the $190 million for the U.S., CMI Foods will also invest $480 million for expansion in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The CMI Foods investment is expected to create an estimated 40,000 jobs directly and 160,000 indirect jobs. The remaining amount of the investment, $790 million, will be allocated through CMI Capital toward new technology and sustainability projects.

Rodas said those projects will range from water-saving improvements at its restaurants and poultry facilities to energy efficiency operations.

“It’s something that’s a huge opportunity in all of our business units,” Rodas said. “It’s a big opportunity for growing and bringing new technology, innovation and products. Every single business that we currently have is very successful, so what we want is to allocate across the board in order to keep the momentum and relevance going for all of the business units.”