The Record-Breaking Day Popeyes Had In The UK

Against the odds (or, at least, likely as a surprise to many foodies), Popeyes has emerged as something of a gastronomic rockstar in the contemporary food scene. In 2019, when Popeyes ran through an estimated three-month supply of its chicken sandwiches in just two weeks, Bloomberg stated that it "broke the internet." Per U.S. Magazine, celebrities like Cardi B, Serena Williams, and Quavo flocked to get it. But before that, in 2018, Chef Anthony Bourdain said when he wasn't dining on the world's most sought-after delicacies, he was seeking out Popeyes' mac and cheese and loving every minute of it, via People. It seems like, per the restaurant chain's jingle, everybody really does "Love that chicken from Popeyes."

In April 2022, Popeyes announced major expansion plans to build over 200 new stores across the U.S. and Canada by the end of the year, per Restaurant Dive. This came on top of a massive year for the chain in 2021, during which it opened a whopping 208 new stores. In July, states the New York Post, Popeyes signed the lease on its new flagship location in Times Square — and the Louisiana Kitchen isn't finished yet. Not by a long shot.

Fish and chips, anyone? No? How about ... fried chicken? For many U.K. consumers, that's the conversation being had right now. Actually, the reality is that thousands of Brits lined up outside of a Popeyes starting at 5 a.m. for a fried chicken sandwich (per Insider). Here's the story.

Step aside, chippies

Fried chicken restaurants might be a big deal in the U.S., but U.K. fans might give America a run for its money. Last year, Popeyes hit U.K. shores for the first time. On September 17, the new Oxford location knocked launch-day records out of the water (or, rather, knocked them across the pond) by selling more than 2,000 sandwiches, per Insider. As an opening day promotion, the Oxford Popeyes announced it would be giving away free chicken sandwiches to the first 50 visitors. 40 times that many people showed up. According to U.K. news outlet Oxford Mail, the first 10 people in line "came straight from their night out" — as in, they didn't sleep. Naturally, Popeyes U.K. CEO Tom Crowley is stoked. "We're experiencing strong sales, significantly above expectations, across all locations at the moment which is building an exciting energy in our business," said Crowley. Currently, the Stratford location is the top-selling Popeyes store in the world.

In light of the booming success, Popeyes has already announced plans to build 350 locations across the U.K. by 2031. Although whether Brits on the go can expect a drive-thru any time soon is another matter. "In due course," said Crowley. Still, per a press release reporting the company's earnings, Popeyes had 3,705 stores around the world in 2021 and demonstrated a 7.4% year-over-year growth rate from 2020. Time will only tell what's next for the Louisiana Kitchen with its eyes on the prize.