You’d expect VIVA Chicken, a fast-casual Peruvian chicken chain, to be based in an urban center with a large Latino population such as Miami, or maybe Los Angeles or New York, but not Charlotte, N.C. 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.

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