Mission Importers Not Playing Chicken With Pollo Campero

Categories: Business
Good enough to import
This week, the city's Planning Commission will be considering the application of Pollo Campero, the beloved Guatemalan fried chicken chain to take over the space of the old Payless ShoeSource on Mission Street.

Our sister blog, SFoodie, has written before about the underground dealers of the chain's chicken in the Mission District, driving boxes of the fried chicken up from the franchise in Los Angeles. Well, today we discovered yet another Pollo Campero dealer, Excel courier service at 24th and Alabama Streets, which actually flies the stuff in from Guatemala itself.


Yet owner Leo Gonzalez says he doesn't feel his importation business will be affected one bit by the fact Guatemalans will potentially be able to get their fix on Mission Street.

Gonzalez says that Guatemalan clients tell him that the fried chicken from the Los Angeles franchise "doesn't taste the same. The people prefer it comes from Guatemala. People go to Los Angeles to buy the chicken but they don't like it."

Gonzalez says he takes between 20 and 50 orders from clients each week for a little box with four pieces of fried chicken. The chicken is flown by plane from Guatemala in a refrigerated compartment, then driven from the airport to his shop each Saturday morning in a refrigerated van. The recipients have to come pick it up the same day -- and then only need to heat it up.

The charge for a box of chicken straight from Central America? Between $8 and $10, Gonzalez says -- and he only pockets $1. Basically, he does it to draw more clients, not for the profits. "It's an added service so that more people will come." 

Gonzalez -- who is Mexican, though 90 percent of his clients are Guatemalan -- says he's tried the chicken one time to see what all the fuss is about.

"It's good," but he says the price, "seems a little high."

He says, in the end, he suspects the demand for the chicken is less about the taste than "the culture, the tradition," for immigrants far away from their own country's fast food.

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Pollo Supporter
Pollo Supporter

Yes. We are trying to bring Pollo Campero to the mission. I am working with Pollo Campero in placing a sit down style restaurant on mission and 24th. We spent the entire day yesterday at a planning commission hearing at city hall and the decision to allow Pollo to open up was suspended for another hearing in two months. This may cause the company to rethink this decision to open in San Francisco and not bring the 60-70 jobs to the mission that are desperately needed. Please anyone who would like a Pollo Campero in San Francisco, email the Planning Commission and let them know how much it is desired.Here is a link to the planning commission website with all of their contact information.http://www.sf-planning.org/ind...Thank you for your support!

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