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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits
Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits
GenreFast food
FoundedJune 12, 1972; 47 years ago (1972-06-12) (as Chicken on the Run)
Arabi, Louisiana, U.S.
FounderAl Copeland
Number of locations
3,102[2][3] (2018)
ProductsFried chicken
Cajun cuisine
RevenueIncrease US$206 million[4] (2013)
Number of employees
2,130[4] (Dec 2015)
ParentRestaurant Brands International (2017–present)

Popeyes is an American multinational chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana and headquartered in Miami, Florida. Since 2008, its full brand name is Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.,[5] and it was formerly named Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits[6] and Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits.[7] It is currently a subsidiary of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International.

According to a company press release dated June 29, 2007, Popeyes is the second-largest "quick-service chicken restaurant group, measured by number of units", after KFC.[8] 3,102 Popeyes restaurants are in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries worldwide.[9][10][11] About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised.[12]


Popeyes was founded in Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish. It first opened its doors on June 12, 1972, as "Chicken on the Run".[5][13] Owner Al Copeland wanted to compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken,[14] but his restaurant failed after several months.[5][14] As the company's history states, it sold "traditional mild fried chicken [but] business was slow, and the chicken team realized they'd have to sell a spicier alternative to their standard chicken recipe if they wanted to impress flavor-seeking New Orleanians."[citation needed] Copeland reopened the restaurant four days later as Popeyes Mighty Good Chicken.[14] By 1975, the company had been renamed as Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken.[14] Copeland started franchising his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Louisiana. The chain expanded to Canada in 1984, and opened its 500th restaurant in 1985.[5] B.P. Newman of Laredo, Texas, acquired several franchises in Texas and surrounding states. Two hundred additional locations were added during a period of slower expansion.[citation needed]

By 1990, Copeland Enterprises was in default on $391 million in debts, and in April 1991, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. In October 1992, the court approved a plan by a group of Copeland's creditors that resulted in the creation of America's Favorite Chicken Company, Inc. (AFC) to serve as the new parent company for Popeyes and Church's, another fast food chain specializing in chicken.[15] AFC went public in 2001 with initial public offering (IPO) of $142,818,479.[16] On December 29, 2004, AFC sold Church's to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital Investments) retaining Popeyes.[citation needed]

On June 17, 2014, Popeyes announced it had re-acquired full control of its seasonings, recipes, and other proprietary food preparation techniques from Diversified Foods & Seasonings, which remained under the control of Al Copeland and his estate after the creditor sale of Popeyes to AFC. Popeyes had continued to license the seasonings, recipes, and techniques from DF&S for a yearly 'spice royalty', before buying them outright for $43 million. DFS remains the main supplier for Popeyes until at least 2029.[17]

As of 2018, Popeyes has 3,102 restaurants worldwide.[18][19][6]


Alvin C. Copeland claimed he named the stores after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection[20][21] and not the comic strip and cartoon character Popeye the Sailor.[22] The company's early brand became deeply tied to the cartoon star with its sponsorship of the Popeye & Pals children's show in New Orleans, and the character appeared on items from packaging to racing boats.[citation needed] The name is spelled "Popeyes" without the apostrophe used by other restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Hardee's. Copeland claimed facetiously that he was "too poor" to afford an apostrophe.[20]

The chain later acquired rights to use Popeye the Sailor for marketing and used this for 35 years.[22] In late November 2006, AFC announced the mutual termination of their licensing contract with King Features Syndicate, effectively ending their association with the Popeye characters.[23]

Acquisition by Restaurant Brands International[edit]

On February 21, 2017, Restaurant Brands International announced a deal to buy Popeyes for US$1.8 billion.[24] On March 27, 2017, the deal closed with RBI purchasing Popeyes at $79 per share via Orange, Inc, an indirect subsidiary of RBI.[25]


Popeyes mild chicken

Popeyes serves chicken dishes in mild and spicy flavors and offers sides such as red beans and rice, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes with Cajun-style gravy, Cajun rice, macaroni & cheese, and coleslaw. In addition to fried chicken, other entree items include a chicken-and-sausage jambalaya and po' boy sandwiches. Most combo meals come with a side order and a biscuit, but without a drink. On October 30, 2006, AFC announced that Popeyes planned to introduce a trans fat-free biscuit as well as french fries containing one gram of trans fat by year-end.[26] On November 18, 2011, AFC announced that, for the Thanksgiving holiday, Popeyes would release a Fried Turducken sandwich that would show off the first ever Turducken patty. On July 29, 2013, AFC began offering a special entree of fried chicken strips dipped in waffle batter, which was already a proven success in some markets.[27] For a limited time only in 2017, Popeyes offered "Sweet and Crunchy" chicken, fried chicken tenders coated in shortbread cookie breading.[28] In 2019, Popeyes began selling a chicken sandwich, which gained media attention and commendation.[29][30]

Style and marketing[edit]

Coleslaw from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

The restaurants' exteriors have a distinctive red-and-yellow color scheme. The original locations had a black lava rock exterior with a red shingled roof. Most older locations have covered the rock exterior to conform with the current yellow stucco appearance. During the 1970s and 1980s, the company occasionally licensed characters from the Popeye comic strip to use in its advertising. TV and radio ads often use New Orleans-style music, along with the trademark "Love That Chicken" jingle[31] sung by New Orleans funk and R&B musician Dr. John.

In 2009, Popeyes introduced "Annie the Chicken Queen", a fictitious, upbeat, African-American Popeyes chef. The character is meant to be "honest, vibrant, youthful and authentic" according to Dick Lynch, Popeyes Chief Marketing Officer. "Everyone has a relative or a good friend who will give it to them straight, and that's what the Annie is all about", Lynch said.[32]

In 2018, Popeyes sponsored race car driver Brennan Poole in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Number of franchises[edit]

Popeyes maintains a "Hall of Fame" of its franchise holders. Among the inductees is Morgan W. Walker, Jr. (1928–2008), originally from Alexandria, Louisiana, who held a franchise in the Washington, D.C., area from 1979 to 2007. Some international franchises, such as the ones located in Germany, France, and Japan, are located only on U.S. military installations and are generally not accessible to the local civilian public.[citation needed]

Year United States Canada Outside the United States and Canada Company-owned
2003 1,324 20 320 95
2004 1,382 28 347 67
2005 1,427 28 315 56
2006 1,459 31 306 50
2007 1,507 34 276 61
2008 1,527 39 301 55
2009 1,539 42 325 37
2010 1,533 42 333 37
Source: Entrepreneur.com[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Louis, Billy Jean (August 3, 2018). "Popeyes to move headquarters out of Atlanta". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.rbi.com/Cache/396848915.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=396848915&iid=4591210
  3. ^ http://www.rbi.com/file/4591210/Index?KeyFile=1500096187
  4. ^ a b Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Form 10-K, Securities and Exchange Commission, February 26, 2014
  5. ^ a b c d "Our Story". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "About Popeyes". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  7. ^ Engelberg, Adrian (September 24, 1990). "Bob & Gee Tucker: Community Service Important for Married Consulting Team". New Orleans CityBusiness. 11 (6): 23C.
  8. ^ "Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Offers 'A Side of Hope,' to America's Hungry Families" (Press release). Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.rbi.com/Cache/396848915.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=396848915&iid=4591210
  10. ^ http://www.rbi.com/file/4591210/Index?KeyFile=1500096187
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Hoovers/Dun & Bradstreet: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits". Hoovers. Archived from the original on July 7, 2007.
  13. ^ Dodds, Eric (June 12, 2015). "Happy Birthday, Popeyes Chicken". Time. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d Chandler, David (October 15, 1984). "Now That His Chicken Business Is Booming, Al Copeland Wants to Muscle in on Cajun Cuisine". People. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  15. ^ "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  16. ^ AFC Enterprises Initial Public Offering
  17. ^ Wong, Vanessa (June 17, 2014). "Popeyes Buys Its Recipes for $43 Million. Wait, Popeyes Didn't Own Its Recipes?". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  18. ^ http://www.rbi.com/Cache/396848915.PDF?O=PDF&T=&Y=&D=&FID=396848915&iid=4591210
  19. ^ http://www.rbi.com/file/4591210/Index?KeyFile=1500096187
  20. ^ a b Martin, Douglas. "Al Copeland, a Restaurateur Known for Spice and Speed, Dies at 64". The New York Times, March 25, 2008
  21. ^ Hoffman, Ken, "Chicken Cordon Bleu est TACO tres magnifique", King Features Syndicate, published in The Gazette of Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, Iowa, June 19, 1998, p. 2, ("chain was named for Popeye Doyle, the cop in The French Connection") Archived online at newsbank.com. Retrieved March 27, 2008
  22. ^ a b Moon, Bob (November 29, 2012). "'Well, blow me down!' Popeye is out at Popeyes". Marketplace Investor. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  23. ^ "Popeyes ditches ex-spinach-eating pitchman", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 26, 2013.
  24. ^ Silva Laughlin, Luaren (February 21, 2017). "Restaurant Brands Takes a Bite Out of Popeyes". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  25. ^ "Restaurant Brands International Inc. Announces Successful Completion of its Tender Offer to Purchase All of the Outstanding Shares of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc" (Press release) – via PR Newswire.
  26. ^ Dow Jones newsire (Oct. 31, 2006): "AFC's Popeyes Chicken Plans Low Trans-Fat French Fries", by Richard Gibson Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Popeyes Debuts Chicken Waffle Tenders, World Wonders Why No One Else Thought Of That Already". The Huffington Post. July 24, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  28. ^ "Popeyes is now frying chicken in cookie batter – here's the flavor verdict". AOL. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  29. ^ Rosner, Helen (August 20, 2019). "The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Arceneaux, Michael (August 20, 2019). "Popeyes started a chicken sandwich war with Chick-fil-A. This is why they'll win it". NBCUniversal. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  31. ^ "Popeyes Chicken". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  32. ^ "Popeyes keeps it real with new advertising campaign" (Press release). Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. March 30, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
  33. ^ "Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Franchise Information". Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 22, 2017.

External links[edit]