Popeyes Announces Major Plans For Reopening In China

Popeyes may be a Louisiana kitchen, but the fast food chain is expanding well beyond America's South. The popular chicken conglomerate, which last year announced plans to build locations across North America, has now added China to its list once again. As of Monday, Popeyes is planning the opening of 1,700 outposts across China, at least 10 of which will be in Shanghai. 

The expansion announcement comes on the heels of the chain's purchase by Tims China, owner of Canada's beloved Tim Hortons, which made the acquisition in March. While the menu will keep in place hot ticket items like Cajun popcorn shrimp, it will also offer a Chinese twist on fast food. New menu items merge Southern-style fare with more local dishes, like golden cheese and chicken nuggets, sweet chili chicken, and a Longjing tea-based pomelo milkshake. Tims China likewise plans to upgrade Popeyes storefronts with colorful art and jazz music. When exactly can Chinese customers expect to pay a visit? Well, while other locations are soon to follow, if folks live in or can make the journey to Shanghai, they already can. 

Popeyes eateries will relaunch across China over the next ten years

The coming years in China are about to include a lot more chicken because the rollout is being planned for the next decade. To whet the nation's appetite, the first location for this initiative already opened and made quite a splash. On August 19, a Popeyes launched on Middle Huaihai Road in Shanghai, and folks waited as long as 8 hours in line to get a taste. So, clearly, the demand is there, and residents can now pick up a blackened chicken sandwich for themselves.

This is not the first time Popeyes has shared its chicken with China. In what management seems confident was a false start, a Popeyes was opened in the country back in May 2020, followed by another just last summer. But this renewed effort of Tims Chinas relaunch is blazing ahead despite China's economic struggles. "Despite a challenging overall macroeconomic environment, food service retail sales have been a bright spot in China's post-COVID recovery — one of the sectors that has rebounded strongly," Yongchen Lu, CEO of Tims China told CNN. This represents a huge strategic effort for Popeyes, so time will tell if Chinese restaurant-goers will love its chicken the way we do back home.