A whole new management team led by Cheryl Bachelder, a 1-time president of rival KFC, have been charged to steady the 1,900-unit company, but a litany of external and internal pressures complicated the work.
Same-store sales, average unit volume (AUV), and transaction counts had suffered many years of declines, and the ones downward trends placed the corporation at odds featuring its franchisees, several of whom considered the Atlanta-based company mismanaged and self-serving. Just as if that wasn’t enough, the excellent 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 a single unit in a global enterprise of some 800 units, died at the age of 64. Though Copeland had not directed the manufacturer for over fifteen years, his death seemed a symbolic public blow to your brand clamoring once and for all news-a bit of good news.
“The brand hadn’t been managed well,” says Lynch, certainly one of Bachelder’s early management hires and also the company’s chief brand officer, “and we necessary to get back on track.”
And that’s what exactly popeyes menu with prices did. During the last eight years, the chain has turned into a reinvigorated, lively force in the quick-service game, shifting its results, public perception, along with its future prospects.
In 2015, Popeyes added nearly $700 million in systemwide sales to the year-leapfrogging Papa John’s to penetrate the most notable 20 in 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 these within the Usa-and crossing 2,500 total units, an army of restaurants scattered throughout the U.S. and over two dozen other nations around the globe.
In 1972, Copeland opened Chicken about the Run in Arabi, Louisiana, a fresh 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 modify course. He altered his eatery’s menu from traditional Southern-fried chicken to spicy, New Orleans-style chicken as well as installed the Popeyes moniker, a nod to Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the detective character within the French Connection portrayed by Gene Hackman.
By the mid-1980s, Popeyes was a growing phenomenon. The chain boasted over 500 units, including restaurants away from United states, along with end up being 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 purchase of rival Church’s Fried Chicken soured. The company reorganized as AFC (America’s Favorite Chicken) Enterprises shortly thereafter.
Through the 1990s and in to the 21st century, Popeyes 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, as well as persistent sales, profit, and store-traffic declines. Franchisees became increasingly frustrated.
When Bachelder was appointed CEO in 2007, the company was drowning in the surging wave of missteps.
“It was the land of silos,” says Amy Alarcon, Popeyes’ v . p . of culinary innovation, who joined the corporation in 2007. “Franchisees looked at us with plenty suspicion, and that we had 99devzpky break through that noise and unite.”
Bachelder and her leadership team responded by introducing a Strategic Roadmap designed to fuel results, unify the manufacturer, re-establish trust with franchisees, and propel the brand’s floundering marketplace standing.
There was clearly the launch of new products, including snack items and lighter options to the core bone-in chicken offering; a store remodeling project; new menuboards; plus a new advertising agency. The multi-million-dollar efforts were designed to drive traffic and prevent consistent same-store sales declines.
“We weren’t a national advertiser in 2008, and were only within 30 percent of the U.S.,” Lynch says, calling the company’s advertising spend “completely inefficient.”
Shortly after, Annie, a fictional character played by actress Deidrie Henry, had become the brand’s new spokeswoman, a situation built to share blunt focus on Popeyes’ authentic and tasty food. There was another revised name, as Popeyes dropped its “Chicken & Biscuits” tag in favor of “Louisiana Kitchen,” an effort to celebrate the brand’s heritage of Louisiana-inspired home cooking.
“We wanted to tell the brand’s story and present Popeyes brand relevance … which started with bringing the brand returning to its Louisiana roots and making it authentic. We believed we couldn’t tell our brand story with out 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.
Most importantly, however, leadership found it necessary to restore the trust of the franchisees, a partnership which had withered and weakened amid consistent instability.
“Franchisees had every reason to be unhappy, therefore we found it necessary to demonstrate we could have the brand back on track,” Lynch says.
Indeed, Popeyes’ leadership was centered on regaining its franchisees’ trust. Lynch recalls long and robust discussions among leadership concerning the brand’s core customer. Was it the consumer, investors, or franchisees? “We decided it had been our franchisees, therefore we found it necessary to know how our franchisees were creating wealth and exactly how we might enable them to make more,” he says. “If these folks were happy, then everything would look after itself.”
Everything became concerning the logo and driving its success with franchisees surface of mind, Lynch says. There was operational introductions like a guest satisfaction monitor, increased food-safety assessments, along with a store-level scorecard that measured key metrics like sales, profits, employee turnover, and guest experience. “We looked to better understand store-level profitability, saving money, and traffic drivers,” he says.
On the guest experience side, as an illustration, store managers received customer satisfaction reports along with action offers to rectify issues. If the store received a low score for, say, hot food, then your system would explain specific interventions including checking certain factors of kitchen equipment or even more closely monitoring hold times to drive improvement.
Popeyes’ leadership also inspired its culinary team being creative and innovative, so long as new creations featured ingredients or cooking techniques authentic to Louisiana. The company’s culinary brain trust responded with six to eight limited-time offerings each and every year, including popular options like Wicked Chicken and Rip’n Chick’n, which captured imaginations and customers.
“We enjoyed a laser-sharp center on translating the personality of Louisiana into our food to ensure our products could tell the tale in our brand,” Alarcon says, adding that Popeyes’ culinary resolve “has arrived at define us, separate us, and lift us from our competitive set.”
Keen to inject Louisiana’s bold, flavorful, and artistic personality into its food-weaving within the French, German, African, Italian, and British influences that pepper the region’s robust culinary scene-Popeyes’ culinary team hit other home runs with LTOs like Chicken Waffle Tenders-a transportable and affordable product-and Red Stick Chicken, where chicken strips were marinated in Tabasco sauce and cayenne prior to being battered and deep-fried.
The culinary creativity further spurred the chain’s resurgence, reinforcing Popeyes’ Louisiana brand heritage and supplying the quick serve a solid point of differentiation.
Same-store sales and profitability began ticking upward during 2009 since the brand’s marketplace positioning became more clear and distinctive. Franchisees, once a largely disgruntled group, hopped about the bandwagon-“The alignment using our franchisees is a lot more powerful than anyone will ever know,” Lynch says-there was collective movement around a simply stated yet ambitious brand purpose: “Food that ignites our need to serve.”
“We all rallied behind those words and dedicated to our roadmap,” Lynch says.
In 2014, Forbes called Popeyes the “KFC Killer” and credited the chain for “crushing rivals with a mixture of upscale marketing and unapologetically greasy comfort food that customers-and investors-can’t resist.”
The sentiment will continue to ring true. In 2008, Popeyes’ AUV sat at $1 million. Today, it’s greater than $1.4 million. In 2008, Popeyes’ stock price sat as low as $3.50 a share. Today, the ticker for Popeyes hovers near $60.
“It’s pretty remarkable how [Bachelder] and her team have turned things around given how disjointed things were eight to nine yrs ago,” says analyst Alton Stump of Cleveland-based Longbow Research. “You possess a system today that’s closely aligned, and everybody is about the same page to build the most effective returns they possibly can.”
The core aspects of Popeyes’ recent renaissance-the main focus on its Louisiana heritage, new product proliferation, and franchisee relations-remain very within 2016 as Popeyes aims to keep its brand-building efforts and record-breaking results.
“It’s an enduring strategy,” Lynch says. “We’re working to make a legacy of systems, protocols, policies, and values living beyond us.”
Earlier in 2016, the business identified a collection of bold, long term goals being achieved across the next seven to several years, including driving Usa restaurant AUVs from approximately $1.4 million to $2 million, increasing franchisee profitability from $340,000 to $500,000 per restaurant, and growing Popeyes’ global unit count from 2,500 to 4,000 restaurants.
To achieve these ambitious objectives, Popeyes’ new Strategic Roadmap focuses much more so on its Louisiana heritage, which leaders consistently see as Popeyes’ key brand differentiator. It also is focused on routine operational excellence in the restaurant level as a technique to increase traffic counts.
Popeyes is also doubling on its people, which leadership sees as vital to driving profitability. Earlier this season, the chain presented a member of staff engagement system in which about 60,000 crew members answered questions on their engagement with the logo and their individual restaurants. The corporation is currently during the early stages of action planning against that data, thoughtfully and earnestly seeking concrete approaches to increase employee engagement.
“This is distinct and new territory for us,” Lynch says of your employee engagement push, “but crucial for our continued success.”
The company’s three strategic pillars-Louisiana, operational excellence, and its particular people-will be enabled by ONE Technology, an initiative to create a standard technology platform for the Popeyes system.
“All of such programs should be supported and facilitated by technology, both guest and employee facing, that aim to make lives better,” Lynch says.
Stump says the technology piece is vital for Popeyes, which retains room to grow for both unit count-where it trails chicken category leader KFC by some 1,700 units-and AUV, where Chick-fil-An even more than doubles Popeyes’ output.
“Popeyes’ collection of data from franchisees through the years, something the emblem wasn’t doing before [Bachelder’s] arrival, helps the franchisees generate better returns and pick better sites, and something Technology is the next phase here,” Stump says. “Popeyes has got to get to one POS system, not the 40 roughly they have got now.”
Bachelder, meanwhile, continue to lead the charge as CEO after inking a brand new multi-year employment agreement with Popeyes’ board of directors earlier this season.
“One of Cheryl’s greatest talents is that she knows the best questions you should ask at the right time,” Lynch says of his longtime colleague. “Best of, she creates an environment in which these questions are addressed creatively and constructively.”
Stability towards the top, combined with a definite plan in the future, provides http://allfoodmenuprices.com/popeyes-menu-prices/ leadership a good amount of confidence that this momentum from the last eight years continue.
“We know it doesn’t get any easier, that the mountain keeps getting steeper and steeper,” Lynch says, “but we’ve had our turnaround and don’t wish to accomplish another. Everyone-our corporate staff, our franchisees, our crew, our customers, and [Wall Street]-understands what we were here to complete, and that’s to continue our growth trajectory.”