Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

In its quest for more visibility in the US, Guatemala-based Hispanic chicken chain Pollo Campero scored big late last year when it announced an agreement with Wal-Mart to place its restaurants in the retailer’s stores beginning this year. Campero management is counting on the deal to help it achieve the goal of 500 US units by 2012. The chain currently has 37 locations in the US with plans to open an additional 30 this year. In all, Campero operates 276 units in 11 countries. Roberto Denegri, Campero USA’s president and COO, recently spoke to GlobeSt.com about the chain’s domestic plans.

GlobeSt.com: What kinds of real estate in the US do you prefer?

Denegri: We’re looking for pads in shopping centers anchored by a Wal-Mart, a SuperTarget or a Home Depot, or Lowe’s with very strong visibility and easy access in high-density areas. We’re looking for a lot of diversity, and a good component, about 20%, of Hispanic population. Ideally, we’re interested in sites that allow us to have a drive-thru. We’re also looking at end-caps and in-lines, but visibility is very high on our approach.

GlobeSt.com: Are you interested in lifestyle centers or malls?

Denegri: We just opened one unit, which is a pad, in a mixed-use center in Boynton Beach, FL. You have the traditional big boxes for retail, and you have a residential component. So yes, we’re definitely looking at those also.

GlobeSt.com: How are you planning your geographic expansion in the US?

Denegri: Our focus now is the East Coast, from Boston all the way down to Miami, passing through Atlanta. The other big concentration is in California, Nevada and Arizona. Then we have development going on in Texas and Illinois, but the majority is on both coasts.

GlobeSt.com: How did the Wal-Mart deal come about?

Denegri: We were exhibiting at the national restaurant show last year in Chicago. They were looking for a Latin American concept. We began conversations and closed the deal in October. Basically, they have a large Hispanic component in their customer base. They found it attractive that we are an authentic Latin American brand growing in the States with chicken as a base product.

GlobeSt.com: Are you looking at similar opportunities at other chains?

Denegri: We’re very happy with the opportunity at Wal-Mart, and we’re really committed to making it work very well for both them and ourselves. We’re always looking for growth opportunities, whether they be in toll plazas and metro states. We’re in a growth mode, so we’re looking at all sorts of opportunities.

GlobeSt.com: What are your franchising plans?

Denegri: What we’re doing is 80% franchise and 20% company owned. Out of the 276 restaurants that we have operating, we own about 220 of those. We’re very strong in company operations and are using the franchising approach to accelerate the expansion. We are bringing in franchisees with restaurant-operation experience, people who are committed to very high-quality standards. We have about 12 franchisees now and are hoping to bring about eight on board this year. Franchisees are critical for our growth strategy because we are looking at achieving critical mass or market-efficiency levels as quickly as we can in the new markets.

GlobeSt.com: Are there differences between the US restaurants and other in other countries?

Denegri: There are some differences in Latin American, where our restaurants tend to be larger than here. Our average site in Latin America is about 4,000 sf, and our average site here is about 2,700 sf. Our menu offering here has more Latin American dishes, which is funny, because in Latin America you have more traditional American side orders. Here we have more Latino side orders. But other than that, the chicken is exactly the same.

GlobeSt.com: Are you looking at any other countries?

Denegri: We opened operations last year in China and Indonesia. The previous year we opened in Spain. Those are all new markets that we will continue growing forward.

GlobeSt.com: What is your biggest challenge expanding in the US?

Denegri: Finding the right sites. That’s the biggest challenge. Everyone is after high visibility, high traffic, easy access, and that’s what we are looking for too. It’s very competitive. Our advantage today is that the Hispanic community in the US has grown so much that a lot of retailers that have a strong Hispanic component in their customer base are also looking to bring in a lot of authentic Latin American brands. You don’t have many of those, like ours, so that allows us to have a different edge.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 3 free articles* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Dig Deeper


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.