Popeyes Begins Exploring Canadian Markets


Seven years after its corporate restructuring, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. has set new benchmarks for its Canadian growth. As part of a recent ramp-up in the chain’s Canadian expansion, the Atlanta-based fast-food franchisor recently reached a new milestone with the opening of its 100th Canadian restaurant in November. “We have opened almost 30 stores in the last 18 months and are planning to continue our expansion, entering key markets in Western Canada starting in 2016,” Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, told F&H in November.

The Canadian openings represent a significant portion of the company’s 2015 openings. By the end of third quarter 2015, Popeyes had opened a total of 68 new restaurants with more scheduled to launch before year end. These fourth-quarter launches included not only Canada’s 100th restaurant, but the opening of the brand’s 2,500th location, in Hatillo, Puerto Rico.
“Canada has always been a focus for Popeyes,” says Bachelder, noting the brand has had a presence in the country since 1984 when it opened its first international location in Toronto. Since entering the country, Popeyes has expanded across Ontario and soon more Canadians will be getting a taste of the chain’s in-house-marinated, hand-battered chicken and seafood as the company shifts its focus to new markets. The first Western Canadian location, set to open in Calgary this year, will mark the first unit outside of Ontario. “The focus [this year] is to establish the brand in Western Canada and establish a supply chain hub in Alberta,” says Bachelder. Edmonton and Winnipeg are also potential markets for future expansion and Bachelder says her team “will be continually evaluating the demand for the brand in neighbouring provinces such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan.”

In 2014, the Popeyes chain boasted a global same-store sales growth of 6.2 per cent over 2013. Including last year’s results up to Q3 2015, the company has experienced 22 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales growth. “The success of our company is based on two premises: collaboration with our franchisees to help them succeed and a commitment to innovative design to give our customers what they want when they go out to eat,” explains Bachelder.

Popeyes builds a variety of international store formats including freestanding, in-line, mall and college and university locations. The brand offers territory development deals in Canada, for which potential franchisees must agree to build a certain number of units for the proposed area. A given territory must be able to support a minimum of five restaurants to be considered.

Volume 48, Number 11

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