Founded by Al Copeland in the suburbs of New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has grown from a small southern gem to a global sensation, captivating the taste buds of millions around the world.
Al Copeland’s journey began with a single restaurant named Chicken on the Run. Inspired by the bold flavors of Louisiana cuisine, Copeland aimed to bring the authentic taste of New Orleans-style fried chicken to a wider audience. The unique blend of Cajun spices and a secret family recipe set Copeland’s chicken apart, establishing the foundation for what would later become Popeyes.
By 1976, Popeyes achieved a significant milestone with its first franchise in Louisiana. Over the years, the brand thrived, introducing the iconic tagline “Love That Chicken from Popeyes” in 1980 and adding buttermilk biscuits in 1983.
Global expansion began in 1984 with Popeyes entering Toronto, Canada, and by 1985, it reached its 500th restaurant in Landover, Maryland, solidifying its position as the third-largest quick-service chicken chain.
In 1992, America’s Favorite Chicken Company was formed, acquiring Popeyes and sparking a revitalization of its aesthetics. The franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1997, surpassing a billion-dollar annual sales mark in 1999 and receiving the MenuMasters Award in the same year.
By 2001, Popeyes became the second-largest quick-service chicken chain, introducing new heritage-designed restaurants in Atlanta, GA, and celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2002.
In 2008, Popeyes embraced a new brand positioning as BONAFIDE®, evolving into Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen with a fresh logo and new products. Subsequent years saw innovative menu additions, including the Butterfly Shrimp Tackle Box in 2009 and the introduction of “Blackened Tenders,” Rip’n Chick’n, and Dip’n Chick’n.
In 2011, Popeyes reached its 2,000th restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, and established the Popeyes Foundation, Inc., benefiting the ProStart® program.
The 40th-anniversary celebration in 2012 involved a system-wide remodeling, collaboration with Zatarain’s for Zatarain’s Butterfly Shrimp, and a partnership with Coca-Cola® for custom holiday collector cups.
In 2013, Popeyes introduced the Cajun Surf & Turf and Chicken Waffle Tenders, continuing with Love That Chicken Month and custom Coca-Cola® holiday cups.
2014 brought innovations like Beer Can Chicken and the $5 BONAFIDE® Big Box. In 2015, Red Stick Chicken and sponsorship of the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl earned recognition.
Fast forward to 2019, Popeyes made history with the Chicken Sandwich launch, creating a cultural phenomenon. As of 2021, celebrating the opening of 208 new restaurants brought the total to over 3,000 in the US and Canada. Now Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, plans to open more locations globally, boasting over 3,700 locations worldwide.
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