In early 2008, popeyes chicken menu languished in quick-service mediocrity. A new management team led by Cheryl Bachelder, a 1-time president of rival KFC, had been charged to steady the 1,900-unit company, but a litany of external and internal pressures complicated the task.
Same-store sales, average unit volume (AUV), and transaction counts had suffered numerous years of declines, and people downward trends placed the company at odds using its franchisees, many of whom considered the Atlanta-based company mismanaged and self-serving. As if that wasn’t enough, the fantastic Recession struck, spurring a precipitous drop in consumer confidence that further challenged gains.
Then, in March 2008, Popeyes founder Al Copeland, who had built the fried chicken-peddling chain from a single unit in to a global enterprise of some 800 units, died at the age of 64. Though Copeland had not directed the brand for over 15 years, his death seemed a symbolic public blow to your brand clamoring for good news-any good news. “The brand hadn’t been managed well,” says Di.ck Lynch, certainly one of Bachelder’s early management hires as well as the company’s chief brand officer, “and we necessary to get back on track.”
And that’s precisely what Popeyes did. Within the last eight years, the chain has developed into a reinvigorated, lively force inside the quick-service game, shifting its results, public perception, and its future prospects.
In 2015, Popeyes added nearly $700 million in systemwide sales for your year-leapfrogging Papa John’s to enter the best 20 in the QSR 50-and captured same-store sales gains of 5.7 percent at its domestic units, the seventh consecutive year of positive comp sales. The enterprise also reached two new development milestones: opening an archive 219 restaurants in 2016-125 of those inside the Usa-and crossing 2,500 total units, an army of restaurants scattered over the United states and over two dozen other nations around the globe.
In 1972, Copeland opened Chicken on the Run in Arabi, Louisiana, a whole new Orleans suburb on the eastern edge of the Mississippi River. Within months of opening, lackluster sales prompted Copeland-a 1-time local doughnut magnate unafraid of bold ideas-to change course. He altered his eatery’s menu from traditional Southern-fried chicken to spicy, New Orleans-style chicken and also installed the Popeyes moniker, a nod to Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the detective character in The French Connection portrayed by Gene Hackman.
By the mid-1980s, Popeyes was a growing phenomenon. The chain boasted a lot more than 500 units, including restaurants outside of the Usa, along with become the third-largest quick-service chicken chain.
But Copeland’s ambitious appetite proved too mighty. In 1991, his company was forced into bankruptcy after his 1989 purchase of rival Church’s Fried Chicken soured. The company reorganized as AFC (America’s Favorite Chicken) Enterprises shortly thereafter.
Through the entire 1990s and into the modern day, How much does Popeyes catering takeaway cost struggled to discover solid footing. It acquired then sold brands like Seattle’s Best Coffee and Cinnabon. It lacked direction and purpose amid a revolving door of CEOs, along with persistent sales, profit, and store-traffic declines. Franchisees became increasingly frustrated.
When Bachelder was appointed CEO in 2007, the company was drowning in a surging wave of missteps. “It was the land of silos,” says Amy Alarcon, Popeyes’ v . p . of culinary innovation, who joined the organization in 2007. “Franchisees considered us with lots of suspicion, so we were required to break through that noise and unite.”
Bachelder and her leadership team responded by introducing a Strategic Roadmap designed to fuel results, unify the company, re-establish trust with franchisees, and propel the brand’s floundering marketplace standing.
There is the launch of the latest products, including snack items and lighter options to the core bone-in chicken offering; a shop remodeling project; new menuboards; and a new advertising agency. The multi-million-dollar efforts were created to drive traffic and prevent consistent same-store sales declines.
“We weren’t a national advertiser in 2008, and were only in about 30 percent of the U.S.,” Lynch says, calling the company’s advertising spend “completely inefficient.”
Shortly after, Annie, a fictional character played by actress Deidrie Henry, took over as the brand’s new spokeswoman, a situation made to share blunt talk about Popeyes’ authentic and tasty food. There npdcjl also a revised name, as Popeyes dropped its “Chicken & Biscuits” tag in favor of “Louisiana Kitchen,” an attempt to celebrate the brand’s heritage of Louisiana-inspired home cooking.
“We desired to tell the brand’s story and provide Popeyes prices brand relevance … and that started with bringing the manufacturer to its Louisiana roots and making it authentic. We believed we couldn’t tell our brand story with no new brand identity,” says Lynch, who developed brand strategy and innovation plans for concepts like Burger King, Ruby Tuesday, and Buffalo Wild Wings before his arrival at Popeyes in 2008.