Saturday, September 24 2022

Over the years, I have witnessed the evolution of Pollo Campero, which is, par excellence, the traditional chicken fast food restaurant and its recipe in several Central American countries. An original from Guatemala founded in 1971, it is now owned and operated by CMI Alimentos. Operations have spread to El Salvador and the United States (in 19 states, from Arkansas to Virginia), southern Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador and even Spain, China and Indonesia.

But Pollo Campero, which has earned its place among traditional international fast food brands, is much more than fried chicken. One of the things that surprised me was the loyalty of Guatemalans in particular, and Central Americans in general, to the brand. It’s actually more than loyalty. It is a high consideration. It means nostalgia. People are homesick about Pollo Campero.

I recently visited one of the new Pollo Campero restaurants in Guatemala City. It is a modern and pleasant place. When I arrived I realized this was beyond chicken fast food restaurant. First of all, you don’t queue to order. You are actually seated by a host/hostess and then you are expected at the table. You choose from a real menu (printed or from a QR) from a variety of their famous fried chicken recipe dishes to more modern dishes such as salads or bowls. The service is fast, and the food is of good quality.

Suddenly the waiter asked me if everything was ok, and I just mentioned that the avocado in my chicken bowl wasn’t really good. Seconds later he came over with a plate full of avocado slices. I could tell they care about the customer.

But let me go back to nostalgia. I then flew to Honduras to attend OVUM 2022. It’s been a few years since I’ve flown in Central America and I kind of forgot that people fly with boxes of Pollo Campero . They are proud of their chicken and bring it to their relatives and friends for a snack. You could smell the Campero fried chicken throughout the flight.

But the icing on the cake came when the stewardesses gave the instructions and said, “Please place your small personal items such as backpacks, bags and Pollo Campero groceries under the seat in front you. I am not joking!

Very few brands can boast of such a feat.

What do you think?

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