Why Did the Chicken Expand Beyond Guatemala?

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You may not have heard of Pollo Campero (yet) in the United States. But this family-founded brand started in 1971 and has passed down its fried chicken recipe since then. The brand is now investing in U.S. expansion and plans to grow from 90 units to at least 250 over the next five years.

Pollo Campero hatched in Guatemala and has loyal followings in El Salvador and Mexico. Its first United States storefront opened in Los Angeles in 2002.

This MULO (multi-location) brand is a great example of a company that knows to follow its market.  About 3.4 million people from Central America live in the U.S. That brings instant brand recognition for the Pollo Campero brand.

A whopping 88 percent of Americans believe that food enables them to get a feel for other cultures without leaving their home states (or even their houses).

Family values remain a big part of the Pollo Campero brand, even as it scales. The company raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital via local events.

The fast-casual chicken market is on the upswing and is currently valued at about $55 billion.

Among other less-known MULO chicken brands that are popular among consumers and investing in growth are:

These regional chicken chains are also planning for expansion. Street Fight recently covered how a regional brand (Cane’s) tackled expansion into the New York City market.

With so much competition in the chicken space, the profitability “pecking order” will ultimately be determined by consumer tastes, smart distribution and expansion strategies, and effective marketing, including breakthrough-the-clutter social media exposure and engagement.

Many of the chicken chains also have loyalty programs to incentive repeat consumers.

Despite the growth in the market segment, some chickens can’t manage to cross the road. We recently covered the failure of this wing chain.

But MULO brands like Chick-fil-A, KFC, and Popeyes remain the kings of the coop, with thousands of locations and as much as $19 billion in annual sales (Chick-fil-A).

Fried, grilled, born in the U.S., or hatched in another country — one thing is clear. Poultry remains a consumer favorite and one that seems to have staying power.

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.