Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Popeyes to roll out another eight stores

Published:Wednesday | August 24, 2016 | 8:00 AMNeville Graham
A Popeyes meal on display.

Fast-food franchise Popeyes Chicken is in expansion mode with the opening of a new outlet in Portmore this month, and plans for three more stores this year alone.

Brand manager Richard Dunn also indicated that there is more to come next year.

"Before you know it, we will be on every corner," said Dunn at the opening of the Portmore, St Catherine store. Earlier this year, the company also opened a new restaurant at Cross Roads, Kingston.

Still, while Dunn says the company's ambition is to become the king of fast foods, its current size at three stores pales in comparison to the likes of KFC, which has 37 restaurants nationwide, and it also trails sister company and burger chain, Burger King.

 

MORE FRANCHISES TO COME

 

However, the plans outlined by Dunn indicate that by next year, the company would have added eight more stores overall, growing the chain to 11.

Both the Popeyes and Burger King franchises are held by Richard Lake-led companies. The operating company for Popeyes is Restaurant Associates Cajun Limited, a subsidiary of Restaurant Associates Limited.

Dunn also disclosed to Gleaner Business that parent company, Restaurant Associates, will be unveiling another franchise by year end, "most likely in November", but refused to divulge the name of the franchise or the type of food to be sold.

The three Popeyes restaurants to come this year will have the same look and feel and will be a foretaste of what is to come in 2017.

"We're doing three more before the end of the year, namely Manor Park, May Pen and Savanna-la-Mar. In 2017, we'll be doing five. These will all be similar to what you see now," he told Gleaner Business.

Each store opened so far cost on average $60 million, and Dunn says that cost structure will be maintained for the new restaurants.

Asked about the possibility that the expansion of the Popeyes brand may hurt the prospects for the sister operations of Burger King, Dunn pushed back, saying the burger franchise has a different market, and that the chicken on its menu is boneless.

PRIMING FOR COMPETITION

"We don't see it as any competition. We feel we have the better, tasting chicken, and we are priming ourselves to compete with the market leader in chicken at the moment," Dunn said.

He says the real competition is the on the bone chicken segment of the market that Popeyes serves.

The market leader in that segment, KFC, already has restaurants in most parishes the exceptions being Trelawny and St Thomas indicating that Popeyes has a lot of ground to cover in order to claim the crown in the fast-food arena.

Dunn would not give any specifics on the likely locations of the five new Popeyes to open in 2017.

Restaurant Associates CEO Richard Lake said at the opening of the Portmore store that the three restaurants to come in 2016 will represent more than 110 jobs.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com