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Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits (sometimes named Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen or Popeyes Chicken & Seafood; often referred to as just Popeyes) is a chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants, owned since 1993 by the Atlantamarker-based AFC Enterprises (originally America's Favorite Chicken Company). 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 1,800 restaurants in more than 40 states, the District of Columbiamarker, Puerto Rico and 20 countries worldwide including Turkeymarker, Chinamarker, Hong Kongmarker, Iraqmarker, Jordanmarker, Kuwaitmarker, United Arab Emiratesmarker, Japanmarker, Malaysiamarker, the Philippinesmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, South Koreamarker, Singaporemarker, Canadamarker, Jamaicamarker, Mexicomarker, Trinidadmarker and Panamamarker. About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised.

History

Early logo
Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken first opened in Arabi, Louisianamarker, a suburb of New Orleansmarker, in 1972 as "Popeye Family Fried Chicken", owned by Al Copeland. 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 began franchising his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Baton Rouge, Louisianamarker, and added approximately five hundred outlets over the next ten years. B.P. Newman of Laredomarker, Texasmarker, acquired various franchises in Texas and surrounding states. Two hundred additional locations were added during a period of slower expansion. In 1989, Popeyes, then the third-largest chicken chain, merged with Church's Chicken, the second largest, though parent company AFC Enterprises operated the two chains separately. On December 29, 2004, AFC sold Church's to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital Investments), retaining Popeyes.

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 March 23, 2008, Copeland died from a malignant salivary gland tumor.

Name

Copeland claimed he named the stores after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection and not the comic character Popeye the Sailor. Copeland would claim facetiously that he was "too poor" to afford an apostrophe. Despite the close relation to the comic character, Copeland was able to successfully register the name Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits in 1997. The chain later acquired rights to use Popeye the Sailor for marketing. The company's early brand became deeply tied to the comic character with its sponsorship of the "Popeye & Pals" children's show in New Orleans, and the character appeared on items from packaging to racing boats.

Products

Popeyes serves chicken products in mild, and spicy flavors. Popeyes offers sides such as Cajun fries, mashed potatoes, and Cajun rice in regular and large sizes. All combo meals come with a biscuit.

Style and marketing

The restaurants have a distinctive red-and-yellow color scheme. 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. 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.

Number of franchises

Year US Canada Outside US & 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
Source: Entrepreneur.com: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits

Popeyes maintains a "Hall of Fame" of its franchise holders. Among the inductees is Morgan W. Walker, Jr. (1928-2008), originally from Alexandriamarker, Louisianamarker, who held a franchise in the Washington, D.C.marker, area from 1979-2007.

Some international franchises, such as the ones located in Germany, Italy and Japan, are only located on U.S. military installations and are generally not accessible to the local civilian public.

Footnotes

  1. "Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Offers 'A Side of Hope,' to America's Hungry Families", press release, popeyes.com
  2. Hoovers/Dun & Bradstreet: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits
  3. Church's Chicken official website
  4. Dow Jones newsire (Oct. 31, 2006): "AFC's Popeyes Chicken Plans Low Trans-Fat French Fries", by Richard Gibson
  5. Pope, John. "Al Copeland dies in Munich, Germany". The Times-Picayune, posted online March 23, 2008, 3:42 PM
  6. Martin, Douglas. "Al Copeland, a Restaurateur Known for Spice and Speed, Dies at 64". The New York Times, March 25, 2008
  7. Hoffman, Ken, "Chicken Cordon Bleu est 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
  8. "Love That Chicken" lyrics and audio


References



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