How many restaurants do you have today?
We have 17 locations in Lima, which includes our newest location at Jorge Chavez International airport. We own some our restaurants; others are franchises. Our Peruvian locations outside Lima are in Piura, Chiclayo, and Trujillo. Our foreign locations are in Miami, Santiago, and Mexico City.
What makes your pollo a la brasa so special?
We have our own secret recipe, which is made from a unique combination of spices. We’ve also created a special balance of sauces and condiments.
Pardo’s came in as favorite in a recent poll at LivinginPeru.com
Besides pollo a la brasa, what are other popular items?
It really depends on the taste and lifestyle of our clients. Our salads are especially popular for business lunches, when workers tend to seek lighter dishes. Our grilled beef and anticucho dishes are also very popular. For the youngsters, we have a special menu, and we also offer children’s parties for special occasions.
What is your favorite dish?
Although I like all our offerings, my personal favorite is the Pardos Parrillero, which comes with a grilled boneless chicken fillet, fried potatoes, and a salad.
Several of our readers commented especially on your fried potatoes. What is the secret to your famous papas fritas?
We fry them in soy oil, which not only makes them healthier but gives them that special flavor.
When you opened the first Pardo’s Chicken 25 years ago, did you see in your future the growth you have today?
Oh no, in those days the whole country of Peru was struggling. It was simply not possible to see that our first location would branch out from Lima and even to other countries. You can imagine that, with the changing political and economic situations, this was once quite difficult, but we have managed to be successful.
To what do you attribute that success?
First of course, we’ve put in a lot of hard work. We have also advanced by giving people exactly what they want. That is why we have expanded our offerings and services beyond our original pollo a la brasa menu. We provide consistently good meals, with fresh ingredients, served both in our restaurants and by delivery.
What is the aspect that you work so hard on that no one would notice?
That would be quality control. It is hard enough to maintain consistent quality with one restaurant, but to do this throughout a chain, including international franchises, requires us to be constantly aware of what is happening.
How have you accomplished that?
First, we fully comply with all government regulations and inspections, which include safe food handling and refrigeration, as well as spot inspections both in the serving area of our restaurants and in the kitchens. We also have a set of requirements for our delivery vehicles. In addition, we have independent “client” auditors, who anonymously place orders in all of our restaurants, then check the service and quality.
How are you dealing with Lima’s expanding traffic and parking problems?
As everyone knows, traffic and parking are our city’s worst problems. But we’ve made sure that all of our restaurants have ample parking lots — with security. For those who want to avoid the traffic, we maintain a fleet of delivery motorcycles. I don’t know exactly how many delivery vehicles there are, but in the Surco location alone there are a fleet of 150.
What do you see as the future of the chain?
That will depend on our customers. As long as Peruvians love pollo a la brasa, prepared with our special recipes, and as long as they want a Peruvian-owned a chain that continues to meet their expanding palettes, we would like to be here for them.
Marie Alvarez-Calderon is author of Summer in February: A memoir of Lima, Peru and its beaches, available on Amazon.com and at ACAP offices in Lima. Read her previous essays here.