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.,[4] and it was formerly named Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits[5] and Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits.[6] It is currently a subsidiary of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International.

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

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.[7] Popeyes has 3,102 restaurants, which are located in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries worldwide.[2][8] About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised.[9]


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".[4][10] Owner Al Copeland wanted to compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken,[11] but his restaurant failed after several months.[4][11] Copeland reopened the restaurant four days later as Popeyes Mighty Good Chicken.[11] By 1975, the company had been renamed as Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken.[11] Copeland started franchising his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Louisiana. The chain expanded to Canada in 1984, and opened its 500th restaurant in 1985.[4] 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.

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.[12] AFC went public in 2001 with initial public offering (IPO) of $142,818,479.[13] 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 remains the main supplier for Popeyes until at least 2029.[14]

As of 2018, Popeyes has 3,102 restaurants worldwide.[5][2]


Alvin C. Copeland claimed he named the stores after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection,[15][16] and not the comic strip character Popeye the Sailor.[17] 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. 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.[15]

The chain later acquired rights to use Popeye the Sailor for marketing and used this for 35 years.[17] 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.[18]

Acquisition by Restaurant Brands International

On February 21, 2017, Restaurant Brands International announced a deal to buy Popeyes for US$1.8 billion.[19] On March 27, 2017, the deal closed with RBI purchasing Popeyes at $79 per share via Orange, Inc, an indirect subsidiary of RBI.[20]


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.[21] 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.[22] For a limited time only in 2017, Popeyes offered "Sweet and Crunchy" chicken, fried chicken tenders coated in shortbread cookie breading.[23]

Chicken sandwich

Popeyes began selling a chicken sandwich in August 2019 to compete with Chick-fil-A's similar sandwich. The chicken sandwich first launched at Los Angeles restaurant Sweet Dixie Kitchen, a locally-famous spot that was known for making sandwiches using Popeyes fried chicken.[24] The sandwich launched nationwide to all locations in the U.S on August 12, 2019, but had some advanced openings at the beginning of 2019.[24]

The marketing campaign, designed by advertising agency GSD&,M started on August 12, 2019 at 7:32pm with a tweet on the Popeyes' Twitter feed. The new sandwich went viral immediately and prompted responses from nearly every fast food chain including McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, and Wendy's.[25][26] Popeyes reported a 103% increase in traffic in the days following the launch of the sandwich.[27] The sandwich helped Popeye's gather an estimated $23 million in free publicity since its launch.[28] Popeyes stores were routinely hit with long lines and often selling out of the sandwich.[29] Locations across the US were supposed to have enough materials to last them until the end of September. Instead, restaurants were almost entirely sold out after less than two weeks.[30] On August 27, approximately two weeks after the launch, Popeyes announced that it had officially sold out of the chicken sandwich across the country.[31] One person in Tennessee sued Popeyes, claiming that his inability to get the sandwich has caused him to be "hustled out of money", making Popeyes guilty of "false advertising" along with "deceptive business practices".[32] On October 25, 2019, Popeyes announced that the chicken sandwich would return to locations across the US on November 3.[33]

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich is made of buttermilk-battered white meat on a brioche bun along with pickles and mayonnaise or spicy Cajun spread.[34] A single sandwich contains 700 calories, 42 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 trans fat, 1443 milligrams of sodium fat, and 28Nt grams of protein.[35]

Style and marketing

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[36] 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.[37]

Popeyes has sponsored various NASCAR drivers since 2000. That year, NASCAR Busch Series driver Rich Bickle was sponsored by the company for six races,[38][39] while Mark McFarland received a one-race deal in the same series the following season.[40] In March 2018, Tyler Matthews made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the No. 99 Popeyes truck at Martinsville Speedway,[41] and the company also sponsored Brennan Poole and Vizion Motorsports for that year's Truck Series season finale at Homestead–Miami Speedway.[42]

Number of franchises

Popeyes maintains a "Hall of Fame" of its franchise holders. 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.

Year United States Canada Outside the United States and Canada Company-owned
Source: Entrepreneur.com[43]

See also


  1. Louis, Billy Jean (August 3, 2018). "Popeyes to move headquarters out of Atlanta". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  2. "ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934: For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018: RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC" (PDF). United States Securities and Exchange Commission (Washington, D.C.)/Restaurant Brands International (Toronto). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 18, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  3. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Form 10-K. United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 26, 2014
  4. "Our Story". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  5. "About Popeyes". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  6. Engelberg, Adrian (September 24, 1990). "Bob & Gee Tucker: Community Service Important for Married Consulting Team". New Orleans CityBusiness. 11 (6): 23C.
  7. "Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Offers 'A Side of Hope,' to America's Hungry Families" (Press release). Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Hoovers/Dun & Bradstreet: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits". Hoovers. Archived from the original on July 7, 2007.
  10. Dodds, Eric (June 12, 2015). "Happy Birthday, Popeyes Chicken". Time. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  11. 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.
  12. "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  13. AFC Enterprises Initial Public Offering
  14. 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.
  15. Martin, Douglas. "Al Copeland, a Restaurateur Known for Spice and Speed, Dies at 64". The New York Times, March 25, 2008
  16. 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
  17. Moon, Bob (November 29, 2012). "'Well, blow me down!' Popeye is out at Popeyes". Marketplace Investor. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  18. "Popeyes ditches ex-spinach-eating pitchman". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 26, 2013.
  19. Silva Laughlin, Luaren (February 21, 2017). "Restaurant Brands Takes a Bite Out of Popeyes". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  20. "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.
  21. 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
  22. "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.
  23. "Popeyes is now frying chicken in cookie batter – here's the flavor verdict". AOL. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  24. Taylor, Kate. "Social-media battles, massive crowds, and overworked employees: Inside the rise and fall of Popeyes' chicken sandwich". Business Insider. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  25. Suddath, Claire (August 25, 2019). "Sunday Strategist: Popeyes Knew Exactly What It Was Doing". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  26. Odam, Matthew. "Austin company helped Popeyes fried chicken sandwich go viral". Austin 360. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  27. CNN, Leah Asmelash. "Ditch the lines -- Quavo is selling Popeyes chicken sandwiches for $1,000 each". CNN. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  28. Suzanne-Mayer, Dominick. "All our Popeyes' chicken sandwich coverage gave them $23 million in free press". The Takeout. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  29. "Popeyes' new fried chicken sandwich has created a frenzy in its stores: new data". finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  30. Taylor, Kate. "Social-media battles, massive crowds, and overworked employees: Inside the rise and fall of Popeyes' chicken sandwich". Business Insider. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  31. Lucas, Amelia (August 27, 2019). "Popeyes sells out of its chicken sandwich in less than a month". CNBC. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  32. McCarthy, Kelly (August 30, 2019). "Man sues Popeyes after missing out on new chicken sandwich". ABC News.
  33. Taylor, Kate Taylor; Ciment, Shoshy (October 28, 2019). "Popeyes is bringing back its chicken sandwich on Sunday and reigniting its battle with Chick-fil-A". Business Insider. Retrieved November 5, 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  34. Meyer, Zlati (October 4, 2019). "Who bought the Popeyes chicken sandwich? Wealthy Gen-Xers who live alone". Fast Company. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  35. "Is Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Healthy?". Healthline. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  36. "Popeyes Chicken". Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  37. "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.
  38. "Popeyes Sponsors NASCAR Team". QSR. May 5, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  39. "BUSCH: Rich Bickle Gains Sponsor". Motorsport.com. February 21, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  40. Callahan, Terry (September 6, 2001). "NASCAR BGN: Popeys to sponsor Mark McFarland in Richmond race". The Auto Channel. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  41. "Tyler Matthews teams up with Popeyes and BB&T Scott & Stringfellow for NASCAR debut". Catchfence. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  42. "#tbt to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway! Of all the tracks that the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series visits, which is your favorite? #VizionMotorsports #NASCAR #racing #isitfebruaryyet". Instagram. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  43. "Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Franchise Information". Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
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