Popeyes' Executives Outline Path To Continued Success

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has experienced a marked turnaround since its current leadership team, led by CEO Cheryl Bachelder, jumped on board beginning in 2008.

For example, in 2008, global same-store sales were at negative 1.7 percent. They are now at 7.5 percent. Domestically, Popeyes is at 8.4 percent year-to-date, versus 4.9 percent for the overall QSR segment, and 3.9 percent for the chicken QSR subsegment.

Popeyes made up less than 15 percent of the chicken QSR market share in 2008. It is now at 19 percent.

The company has had two opportunities in the past two weeks to share its success story - with a presentation at CL King's 10th annual Best Ideas Conference on Sept. 12, and at its Analyst Day Sept. 18.

"It's an exciting time for Popeyes, especially as we're turning 40 this year," Bachelder said at the Best Ideas Conference. "In 2008, we put into place a strategic roadmap to get results, including the pillars of what we think it takes to be successful. It's not rocket science, but it's hard to be consistent." Those pillars include building a distinctive brand; running great restaurants; growing restaurant profits; and accelerating quality restaurant openings. The company added a fifth pillar this year, developing servant leaders.

Brand spokesperson and restaurant remodel At both events, executives touted the chain's distinctive cuisine/flavors and its complementing marketing plan, led by spokesperson Annie. Annie was introduced in 2009 and her campaign has since gone national.

"One of the most powerful and enduring ways to get your message across is through a spokesperson and we have Annie," said Dick Lynch, chief global brand officer. "We use her to tell our culinary story, to be competitive, to tell the Louisiana story, and the price story to drive traffic. We are blessed and lucky to find this campaign. She is a big source of everything that's driven this brand and we expect to use her indefinitely." Since 2008, Popeyes has more than tripled its media weight - growing from less than 2,000 target rating points to 6,000 today. This has been a major factor in fueling the brand's success, Lynch said.

Also, as part of the first pillar, Popeyes is currently undergoing a "Louisiana Kitchen Plus Image" makeover. Elements of the contemporary design include flatscreen TVs, pendant lighting and a jar of Louisiana spices that anchors the middle of the restaurant.

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