Pollo Campero and American Chains in El Salvador   7 comments

Pictured here is a receipt from Pollo Robero, as I like to call them, tongue in cheek.

I must admit it is damn good tasting chicken. But I try limiting purchases to either a) special occasions, like this visit to the in-laws to treat them to something nice, or b) there’s nothing else to eat and I’m starvin’.

As an American and person of privileged means in El Salvador, I find it  distasteful, pun intended, that numerous fast food and restaurant chains set up shop here and charge nearly the SAME prices as in the U.S.

I do my best to near BOYCOTT them, and here’s why:

1) Food purchased here (chicken, beef, etc.) should be obviously cheaper. If BK is shipping patties here from the U.S. I’ll eat my hat.

2) Labor is R-I-D-C-U-L-O-U-S-L-Y cheap here: $6 a DAY. That’s not a typo. But let’s be generous and say they pay a whopping $7 or $8 a day.

So when I walk up to the counter of a BK, Wendys, Pollo Campero (originated in El Salvador btw), or other international joint, and see the SAME PRICES as I would in the U.S., its enough to make my stomach turn.

Yes, they are providing ‘jobs’ in El Salvador, but are we really beholden to them? I don’t see what grand favor they are doing for the people of El Salvador by paying workers an El Salvador minimum-wage while pocketing the American-priced profits.

You wanna help the Salvadoran People?   AVOID American or International Chains whenEVER possible.   I know this is hard, especially when traveling and missing “foods from home.”  But resist.

Listed below are Alternative Safe Food Options for Where to Eat in El Salvador, that actually help the People HERE, who could really use your money, not the big fat restaurant chain:

– Pupusa Stands
– Small Restaurants that are obviously “local”
– French Fry, Plaintain or Yucca chip stands
– Atol “chucho” stands ( a corn drink made from purple maize – yummy)
– I’ll add more to the list as they come along….

Fruit sold in its own “package” like Oranges, Bananas, Pineapple, Papaya, etc. is safe, once you wash it or peel it.

7 responses to “Pollo Campero and American Chains in El Salvador

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  1. I guess you ought to start eating your hat…The food and supplies that the fast food chains use for the most part is imported and in some cases cost more than in the US the only “cheap” part is the prevailing wage and the rents for the realestate.

    • Hi Fred, thanks for your feedback. Ok, I can see BK or Micky D’s and Wendy’s importing their meats as they have a specific trusted meat type they always buy, but Pollo Campero? Importing chicken from…..? I just read it originated in Guatemala.

  2. Amen to all you said!! The first Pollo Campero just opened in Berlin not too long ago. We’ve been a few times but I prefer eating pupusas, beans, and tortillas. And I could probably live off of the plantain chips and fresh fruit. I’m all about eating local!! I’ve never been to a BK or Wendy’s here and I don’t plan on going. I think it’s REALLY strange when people from the US visit El Salvador for a short time and then eat something like Pizza Hut or BK. That’s like going to France and eating at McDonald’s. People need to be more open with what they try and what they eat.

    Alisha Lundberg
  3. Thank you for the post. There is no excuse for importing crappy meat (stealing from local proucers) and then overcharging for it while paying staff what is expected here. I didn´t really like fast food before moving here. Now I feel really creapy when my 5-year-old manages to convince me to go. I reason it´s so she can play with the kids in the playland and learn more Spanish. I have to find more locally owned playparks!

    I read somewhere that a recent economic recommendation (from the US of all places) to El Salvador was to produce more of it´s own food. The recommendation talked about foods that grow here well, such as bananas, and other tropical fruits. How do all these fast food chains fit into El Salvador addressing such trade deficits? More remittances?

    Once again thanks for the post.

    • Yes, it’s crazy. For BK, Wendy’s and MikkyDs it’s too bad they import. As for Pollo Robero I suspect it’s local industrial chicken, simply b/c they originated in Guatemala and gee there’s lots of chicken here. Speaking of meat, if you ever get a chance to watch the movie, Food, Inc. please do – it’s enlightening and makes me glad I don’t like to eat a lot of meat.

      Yes, of all silliness, it seems E.S. imports a lot of vegetables – ? – I learned this not long ago from a college student I was chatting with. I was surprised, thinking huh, isn’t this a tropical country? Not sure how the FF chains fit re: trade deficits myself, but I can tell you no Salvadoran I know can afford to go to a major FF chain here unless they are getting….remittances! Sadly, these chains are filled with customers, so I guess they have a solid market here.

  4. Those are pretty close to USA prices. I sometimes go to the Pollo Campero in Mac Arthur Park, Los Angeles. It’s costly even from an American point of view. I have been discouraged to see a lot of American interests popping up in El Salvador changing the landscape from guanaco to gringo. With American prices, you’d think maybe they’d kick down some extra dolares to the workers.

    I guess you can call me a Libertarian conservative; far from being a socialist, but I have to say that there is a grain of distaste in my mouth when I eat Pollo Robero paying a lot but seeing these workers paid 6 or 8 dollars a day. Just mathematically speaking that seems off kilter.

    When I am in Salvidlandia, I eat almost exclusively at local joints, independent food stands and at homes when invited. I would be good for a boycott on these businesses until they bring the prices down commensurate with the wages paid to the workers or raise the wages of the worker to match the exorbitant prices they are charging.

  5. Pollo Campero sucks. Just like any other fast food / junk food joint, their chicken has turned to plastic in the heat of the grease. It is worthless as far as nutritional value is concerned. Actually, it is worse than worthless, it is detrimental to human health. I once read somewhere that people who are obese are often suffering from nutrient deficiency. Go figure? Sometimes I have felt like helping a fat person board a bus, then I catch myself and consider that they didn´t get that way overnight, and given that they have probably been taking public transportation all of their life, they should have had better sense than to get so heavy in the first place. When someone asks me for change, explaining that they intend on spending it on food, I ask myself if they are on the heavy side. If they are, then I don´t give them anything. I have saved a lot of change that way. But, as far as Wendy´s and BK, and all that other crap are concerned, their food is disgusting. It may taste good, it may excite the taste buds, but it is garbage and it effects people´s mental capacity and emotional well being. I once saw a flock of birds that were making a routine meal out of stale donuts behind a donut shop. The birds were unkempt and irritable and they looked more than a bit mentally frazzled. That spoke volumes.

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