In early 2008, Popeyes 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 internal and external 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 organization at odds using its franchisees, a lot of whom considered the Atlanta-based company mismanaged and self-serving. Just as if that wasn’t enough, the Great 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 one unit in to a global enterprise of some 800 units, died at age 64. Though Copeland had not directed the brand for more than fifteen years, his death seemed a symbolic public blow to a brand clamoring permanently news-any good news. “The brand hadn’t been managed well,” says Di.ck Lynch, certainly one of Bachelder’s early management hires and the company’s chief brand officer, “and we required to get back on track.”
And that’s exactly what Popeyes did. During the last eight years, the chain has turned into a reinvigorated, lively force inside the quick-service game, shifting its results, public perception, as well as 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 within 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 within the United states-and crossing 2,500 total units, an army of restaurants scattered throughout the Usa and over two dozen other nations around the world.
In 1972, Copeland opened Chicken on the Run in Arabi, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb on the eastern fringe of the Mississippi River. Within months of opening, lackluster sales prompted Copeland-a 1-time local doughnut magnate unafraid of bold ideas-to alter 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 within the French Connection portrayed by Gene Hackman.
Through the mid-1980s, Popeyes was a growing phenomenon. The chain boasted more than 500 units, including restaurants outside the U.S., and had get to be 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 acquisition of rival Church’s Fried Chicken soured. The business reorganized as AFC (America’s Favorite Chicken) Enterprises shortly thereafter.
Through the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, Popeyes delivery struggled to discover solid footing. It acquired and after that 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’ vice president of culinary innovation, who joined the company in 2007. “Franchisees looked at us with lots of suspicion, and that 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 was the launch of brand new products, including snack items and lighter options to the core bone-in chicken offering; a shop remodeling project; new menuboards; as well as a new advertising agency. The multi-million-dollar efforts were made to drive traffic and prevent consistent same-store sales declines.
“We weren’t a national advertiser in 2008, and were only within 30 percent in the United states,” Lynch says, calling the company’s advertising spend “completely inefficient.”
Soon after, Annie, a fictional character played by actress Deidrie Henry, became the brand’s new spokeswoman, a position created to share blunt discuss Popeyes’ authentic and tasty food. There npdcjl additionally a revised name, as Popeyes dropped its “Chicken & Biscuits” tag in support of “Louisiana Kitchen,” an endeavor to celebrate the brand’s heritage of Louisiana-inspired home cooking.
“We wanted to tell the brand’s story and give https://allfoodmenuprices.org/popeyes-menu-prices/ brand relevance … and that started with bringing the manufacturer back to its Louisiana roots and making it authentic. We believed we couldn’t tell our brand story without a 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.