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This article is about the fast-food chain. For other uses, see Popeye (disambiguation).
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Wholly owned subsidiary
Industry Restaurants
Genre Fast food
Founded Arabi, Louisiana
(June 12, 1972 (1972-06-12))
Headquarters Sandy Springs, Georgia, US
Key people Al Copeland
Products Fried chicken
Cajun cuisine
Revenue $167 Million (2007)[1]
Owner(s) AFC Enterprises

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is a 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[2] or Popeyes Chicken & Seafood, 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",[3] with more than 1,800 restaurants in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, and over 22 countries worldwide including Turkey, Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, Iraq, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait,[4] United Arab Emirates, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, Mexico, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Vietnam, Panama and Costa Rica. About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised.[5]


Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken was first opened in Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish, in 1972 as "Chicken on the Run",[6] 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 started franchising his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and over the next ten years added approximately five hundred 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. In 1989, Popeyes, then the third-largest chicken chain, merged with Church's Chicken, the second largest,[7] 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.


Copeland claimed he named the stores after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection[8][9] and not the comic character Popeye the Sailor. Copeland would claim facetiously that he was "too poor" to afford an apostrophe.[8] 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.

In late November 2012, AFC announced the mutual termination of their licensing contract with King Features Syndicate, effectively ending their association with the Popeye characters.[10]


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.[11]

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 chicked strips dipped in waffle batter, which was already a proven success in some markets.[12]

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.

TV and radio ads often use New Orleans-style music, along with the trademark Love That Chicken jingle[13] sung by New Orleans funk and R&B musician Dr. John.

In 2009, Popeyes introduced "Annie the Chicken Queen", a sassy, 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 Annie is all about,” Lynch said.[14]

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 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
2008 1,527 39 301 55
2009 1,539 42 325 37
2010 1,533 42 333 37

See also

New Orleans portal
Food portal
  • Wimpy - An international burger chain also connected with the Popeye the Sailor franchise.


External links

  • Popeyes (official website)
  • MenuMasters 1999 Award: "Best Menu/Line Extension: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits (with background article)
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