In order to expand a Latin brand in the international market, it is necessary to take into account different aspects that will help it to succeed.
CMI Foods, one of the business groups of Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI), led by Chairman Juan José Gutiérrez, has developed different strategies to expand in the international market. Pollo Campero, the Corporation’s restaurant chain, is an emblematic brand in Guatemala and El Salvador, one of the biggest representatives of this success. Founded in 1971 in Central America, it recently celebrated 20 years of success and growth in the U.S. market.
CMI’s cumulative investment in the United States through Campero USA amounts to around $100 million, with more than 80 active restaurants. Of these, 60 are company-owned, while 20 work under the franchise model. Most of them are located in the southern and eastern part of the country, in cities such as Los Angeles in California, Houston and Dallas in Texas, Miami in Florida, and Washington D.C.
As with many other companies, COVID-19 brought with it some challenges for this company. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, several steps were taken to successfully continue the business.
“In the technological area, the digital area, we had to make disruptive changes, major investments, a very significant transformation, to be able to continue operating. From making our people feel safe entering our plants, our offices, to being able to continue serving our customers and consumers in a different way.” – Juan José Gutiérrez commented in a recent interview conducted by Estrategia & Negocios magazine.
During a Webinar shared by Prensa Libre, Luis Javier Rodas, General Manager of Pollo Campero in the USA, and José Gregorio Baquero, CEO of CMI Foods, shared some of the strategies with which they managed to maintain their success abroad despite the pandemic. These same tips can be applied to other companies that want to expand their business internationally.
Preparation: It is important to prepare for working in an environment different from the company’s home country. Macroeconomic studies should be carried out to understand the industry, the competition and the consumer.
Brand adaptation: It is often necessary to “tropicalize” the brand in order to stand out from the local market of the country you want to reach. However, it is important not to lose the essence of the brand.
Determine the focus: It is easy to get lost when you want to cover too much. That’s why it’s important to re-focus on the brand’s main focus and drive efforts to achieve the brand’s objectives.
Inject the brand culture: The brand culture must be transmitted to both employees and customers to ensure that they are living the values on which it is based.
It is important that, along with these practices, constant monitoring is done to make sure they are working, to continue learning along the way. Applying them to different business models will give the opportunity to expand in the international market in a better way.