Popeyes, the iconic US fried chicken restaurant brand, today announces its plan to enter the United Kingdom in 2021, with the goal of opening 350 new restaurants in the UK over the next 10 years as part of an ambitious European expansion plan.
Founded in New Orleans in Louisiana in 1972, Popeyes is a global player in the fried chicken market and currently boasts 3,400 restaurants across 29 countries. Today’s announcement builds on Popeyes expansion in the European market and follows successful roll-outs in Spain in 2019 and Switzerland last year.
Popeyes will enter the UK market as part of an agreement between PLK Europe GmbH, a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI”), Ring International Holdings (”RIH”) and hospitality-industry veteran, Elias Diaz Sese. RIH is a family-owned international conglomerate led by Ralph Martens and guided by Ralph Lanckohr as CEO. Elias Diaz Sese is a former Executive of RBI.
The first Popeyes restaurant in the UK is expected to open by the end of 2021 and will represent the brand’s 11th country in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, which already has more than 350 Popeyes restaurants.
Over the course of its 49-year history, Popeyes has carved a niche in the global fried chicken market through its proprietary cooking techniques and authentic Louisiana flavours. Popeyes has developed great tasting products that make it a point of reference even for celebrity chefs.
Today’s news means that UK guests can soon look forward to enjoying Popeyes world-famous products, such as the brand’s signature Chicken Sandwich, which was the subject of one of the most successful launches in Quick Service Restaurant history when it was released in the USA in August 2019.
Popeyes is committed to replicating its successful international formula for British guests. Popeyes believes that the best food takes time, starting by marinating the chicken for 12 hours in bold Louisiana seasonings while using fresh and locally sourced chicken. All Popeyes chefs are classically trained and bring an uncompromising passion for food and a commitment to honour Louisiana food, flavours and traditions.
Popeyes launch into the UK market is expected to lead to major investment in market-leading talent and digital innovation. Popeyes UK will create a number of new jobs, spanning critical operational roles in construction, supply chain and distribution as well as provide a direct boost to the UK hospitality sector by hiring talent to prepare and serve Popeyes world-famous products to UK guests.
Popeyes is also committed to bringing a market-leading digital experience to UK guests, utilising personalisation and the latest service channels to serve our guests in the iconic hospitable way that is characteristic of the brand.
David Shear, president international of RBI, comments: “We are excited to announce that we are going to be bringing the Popeyes brand to the UK. Popeyes has established itself as an international brand, famed for the creation of authentic, Louisiana-inspired fried chicken products. Our UK launch will build on other successful international expansions in Spain, Switzerland, China, the Philippines and most recently in Sri Lanka. We are confident that our UK guests will love their fried chicken from Popeyes and we look forward to offering an alternative product in a major international market that we believe is ripe for disruption. We can’t wait to get started!”.
Andreas Hacker, CEO of RIH in Scandinavia and the UK, comments: “We are extremely proud to bring this beloved brand to the United Kingdom. We want to become the first choice for chicken in the country by serving our guests fresh and locally sourced chicken, offering the iconic tastes and joy of Popeyes® through a rich in-store and digital experience.”
Elias Diaz Sese, co-founder of Popeyes UK, comments: “We are very pleased to launch Popeyes, a brand that has brought moments of celebration to guests globally, something we believe is important more now than ever. It allows us to contribute in hardship moments for the country by creating hundreds of career opportunities. We truly aspire to become an employer of reference for big-hearted talent through care, service and supporting the neighbourhoods in which we operate’’.