Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
The 2008-present logo
|Founded||June 12, 1972
(as Chicken on the Run)|
Arabi, Louisiana, U.S.
|Headquarters||Dunwoody, Georgia, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Revenue||$206 million (2013)|
|Owner||Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc.|
Number of employees
|2006 (Dec 2013)|
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is an American multinational chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Often referred to as Popeyes and sometimes as Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits or Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits, it was acquired by Sandy Springs, Georgia–based AFC Enterprises, originally America's Favorite Chicken Company, in 1993. 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", with more than 2,500 restaurants in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries worldwide including Bahrain, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the self-declared state of Northern Cyprus, Republic of Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Suriname, Trinidad, Turkey and Vietnam. About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised. As of January 2014, Popeyes has over 2,000 restaurants worldwide according to their website.
Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken was first opened in Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish, on June 12, 1972 as "Chicken on the Run", owned by Al Copeland to compete against Kentucky Fried Chicken. As the company's official history states, they 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. Copeland started franchising his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and over the next ten years added approximately 500 outlets. B.P. Newman of Laredo, Texas, acquired various franchises in Texas and surrounding states. Two hundred additional locations were added during a period of slower expansion. 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. AFC went public in 2001 with initial public offering (IPO) of $142,818,479. On December 29, 2004, AFC sold Church's to Arcapita, formerly Crescent Capital Investments, retaining Popeyes.
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 will remain the main supplier for Popeyes until at least 2029.
Copeland claimed he named the stores after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection and not the comic and cartoon character Popeye the Sailor. Copeland would claim facetiously that he was "too poor" to afford an apostrophe. The chain later acquired rights to use Popeye the Sailor for marketing. 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. 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.
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 and Cajun rice. As well as fried chicken, other entree items include a chicken-and-sausage jambalaya and po' boy sandwiches. Most combo meals come with a side order, drink, and a biscuit. 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. On November 18, 2011 AFC announced that Popeyes is releasing a Fried Turducken sandwich that will show off the first ever Turducken patty just for the Thanksgiving holiday. On July 29, 2013 AFC in conjunction with their Popeyes brand, released a special entree of fried chicken strips dipped in waffle batter, which was already a proven success in some markets.
Style and marketing
The restaurants have a distinctive red-and-yellow color scheme. The original and other older 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 strips to use in their advertising. TV and radio ads often use New Orleans-style music, along with the trademark Love That Chicken jingle sung by New Orleans funk and R&B musician Dr. John.
In 2009, Popeyes introduced "Annie the Chicken Queen", a sassy, black, fictitious Popeyes chef who "tells it like it is". 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.
Number of franchises
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 only located on U.S. military installations and are generally not accessible to the local civilian public.
|Year||United States||Canada||Outside the United States and Canada||Company-owned|
- List of fast-food chicken restaurants
- Kentucky Fried Chicken, a very similar fast food chain that serves notable Southern U.S. dishes such as fried chicken and biscuits.
- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Form 10-K, Securities and Exchange Commission, February 26, 2014
- "About Popeyes"
- Engelberg, Adrian (September 24, 1990). "Bob & Gee Tucker: Community Service Important for Married Consulting Team". New Orleans CityBusiness. 11 (6): 23C.
- "Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Offers 'A Side of Hope,' to America's Hungry Families", press release, popeyes.com
- Hoovers/Dun & Bradstreet: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits
- About Popeyes
- Popeyes Story
- Wong, Vanessa Wong (17 June 2014). "Popeyes Buys Its Recipes for $43 Million. Wait, Popeyes Didn't Own Its Recipes?". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- Martin, Douglas. "Al Copeland, a Restaurateur Known for Spice and Speed, Dies at 64". The New York Times, March 25, 2008
- 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
- "Popeyes ditches ex-spinach-eating pitchman", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 26, 2013.
- Dow Jones newsire (Oct. 31, 2006): "AFC's Popeyes Chicken Plans Low Trans-Fat French Fries", by Richard Gibson
- "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.
- "Love That Chicken" lyrics and audio
- "Press Release: Popeyes keeps it real with new advertising campaign". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. March 30, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- Entrepreneur.com: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurants.|
- Official website
- Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits at the Wayback Machine (archived November 11, 1998)
- MenuMasters 1999 Award: "Best Menu/Line Extension: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits at the Wayback Machine (archived November 1, 2003)