VIVA Chicken, a fast-casual Peruvian chicken chain, launched in Charlotte, and has expanded to 16 ... [+] locations. Pictured is the location in Greenville, S.C.Courtesy of Viva Chicken But you'd be mistaken since VIVA Chicken launched in Charlotte, whose Latino population is about 10%. Co-founder Bruno Machiavello, a native of Peru, arrived in Charlotte because his brother resided there, and Machiavello got a job as a chef in 1985 at George Couchell's Showmars, a fast-causal fried chicken eatery. Couchell took Machiavello under his wing, showed him how to lead a restaurant team and prepare outstanding food. Machiavello and partner Randy Garcia launched VIVA Chicken in Charlotte in 2013, taking out a $150,000 loan from Garcia's father to capitalize it. It did so well that they repaid it in six months. Both are still involved in running the restaurants. Since then, it has expanded to 16 restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah. All are company-owned; none is franchised. A Peruvian fast-casual chicken chain, VIVA Chicken, has found a private equity partner that prefers slow-growth and has expanded into four states, with more to come. Everyone helps each other, from the office, to the kitchen, to the dining room.' And they named it VIVA Chicken, Machiavello said, because VIVA in Spanish means 'feeling happy and celebrating.' And they capitalized the letters for emphasis. Then he formed a small investment group to open up a few more locations. In 2017 Main Post Partners, a private equity firm, entered and helped subsidize future outposts. Savannah Davis, VIVA Chicken's marketing and innovation director, said it chose to align with Main Post Partners because, unlike most private equity firms, 'they don't see quick return as their main priority. They understand VIVA Chicken's concept, and they see the long game.' Moreover, she added their role is to 'help us understand the best business practices to make us successful.' It's unique because of the 'way it's cooked in a rotisserie oven and the marination process,' he noted. It also sells wraps, salads, soups, gluten-free and vegetarian options and is known for its Peruvian street food, Peruvian fried rice and taco bowls. It still, to this day, is not as common as other international options so finding that line between authentic yet approachable is where we try to position VIVA.' 'After they taste it, they fall in love with it,' exuded Machiavello. About 17% of its business derives from a variety of third-party deliverers. It intends to open a second eatery in Greenville, S.C. in 2023, and plans on expanding by three to five new locations per year. 'It's not something we discuss, but for any restaurant that has multiple locations, franchising is an opportunity,' she said. And keep doing it with passion.'