Industry News | September 3, 2009

Pollo Campero Is Big Competition for Domestic Chains

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Competition is heating up at America’s quick-service chicken restaurants as Pollo Campero continues to inject fresh food and unique spices into the industry. It joins other brands from foreign countries that are giving American quick-service icons a run for their money.

When stores have opened in cities like Boston and Los Angeles, Pollo Campero fans have lined up for hours to experience their first taste of Latin chicken on U.S. soil. Now, the company’s Latin twist on fried and grilled chicken, unique side dishes like yuca fries and sweet plantains, as well as Latin drinks including horchata and tamarindo, is winning the taste buds of Americans from all ethnic backgrounds. The demand for Pollo Campero is reaching the mainstream and appealing to an increasingly diverse American population.

“Despite the high level of competition, the U.S. market is extremely attractive to Pollo Campero,” says Roberto Denegri, Campero USA president and COO.

“For decades, the United States has exported its successful quick-service brands around the world. Now, foreign restaurant chains like Pollo Campero are making serious inroads into the United States with new flavors. Let’s face it. Some consumers are tired of eating the same old fried chicken.”

Pollo Campero opened its first U.S. restaurant in 2002. Since then, it has opened more than 50 U.S. restaurants and established a U.S. headquarters in Dallas, Texas. With a list of franchisees waiting to open new restaurants, Campero plans to close 2009 with approximately 60 U.S. stores. And, it plans to become one of the United States’ top-50 quick service restaurant brands with 300 stores by 2014.

Beginning Sept. 8, new television and radio ads hitting the airwaves will tout the chain’s “Flavor You Can’t CamperoTM,” all in an effort to show American’s how fresh and flavorful foods from Pollo Campero will exceed their expectations about quick-service chicken.

“Cultural tastes are changing, and Americans are looking for more flavor, more variety, fresher food and new taste experiences. Unlike many of our competitors, our food is made fresh in our kitchens – not in a corporate laboratory or manufacturing plant,” Denegri says.

Unlike most quick-service chains, Pollo Campero’s chicken is marinated, sending the distinctive Campero flavor all the way to the bone. Fried chicken is hand-breaded in seasoned flour and slowly pressure-cooked without trans-fats, resulting in a flavorful and juicy meal. Fried chicken is available on the bone, in sandwiches, bowls, burritos or in boneless strips.

Grilled chicken features the taste of lime and orange juices, red bell peppers, and a proprietary blend of Latin herbs and spices. It is available on the bone, in sandwiches, bowls, burritos and in Caesar salads.

Side dishes include a mix of Latin and traditional American dishes, including Campero beans, black beans and white rice, yuca fries, sweet plantains, cole slaw, french fries and mashed potatoes. Customers can choose from soft drinks, iced tea or specialty Latin drinks including horchata and tamarindo.

At Campero, customers dine in the Latin family style, gathered around a table spread with a complete Latin meal and set with real plates and silverware. Or, if they prefer, customers can take food with them, transporting the Latin eating experience anywhere they go.