U.S. chicken chain makes move on Western Canada

A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen outlet in Costa Rica. (Businesswire.com)

The world’s second-biggest quick-service chicken chain by number of stores is set to expand its reach into Western Canada starting next month.

Atlanta-based chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen announced Tuesday it plans to open a new store in November in the Tamarack area of Edmonton, followed by a store in Calgary’s Forest Lawn area, then “subsequent locations” through this fall and into next spring.

The NASDAQ-traded company, as of July 10, has 2,594 locations worldwide, of which about 1,900 are in the U.S. and 100 in Canada, all in Ontario.

The company said its Alberta franchisees plan to open locations “across Edmonton and Calgary” by the end of 2017.

“The growth of our brand amongst our Canadian neighbours is especially exciting as it indicates a blossoming appreciation for our Louisiana culinary heritage,” Andrew Skehan, Popeyes’ president for international operations, said in a release.

Popeyes has been on an aggressive expansion track in recent years, having reported opening over 1,200 new restaurants since 2008 and 219 stores in fiscal 2015 alone, with average global same-store sales growth of 4.1 per cent over the past seven years.

The company, which booked US$45.1 million in net income in 2015 on total revenues of US$259 million, said in its annual report it aims to boost its worldwide restaurant count to about 4,000 over the next seven to 10 years.

The Popeyes business, founded in New Orleans in 1972, describes its “Louisiana heritage” as “a platform for ongoing culinary innovation, creating distinctive building design, exuding warm Louisiana hospitality, and giving back to the communities where we serve.”

The company said the name “Popeyes,” picked by restaurant founder Alvin Copeland, was lifted from “Popeye” Doyle, best known as Gene Hackman’s character in the 1971 film The French Connection.

The spinach-chugging U.S. cartoon character more often linked to the name is already the licensed mascot for Edmonton-based Popeye’s, a retail chain specializing in nutritional supplements for athletes, with about 125 outlets across Canada.

The retailer’s trademark in Canada covers the brand’s use in operating “retail stores selling nutritional supplements.”

The Popeyes dining chain, meanwhile, has held its separate trademark for use of the “Popeyes” brand in “restaurant services” in Canada since 1988. It had set up its first restaurant outside the U.S. in Toronto in 1984. — AGCanada.com Network

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