Popeyes Just Announced Major Expansion Plans

Fans of Popeyes' crispy fried chicken, homestyle mac and cheese, and legendary biscuits will soon have even more options for ordering their favorite Louisiana-inspired fast food. The chain, which we named one of the best fried chicken restaurants in America, is gearing up to open hundreds of new locations nationwide in the coming months.

According to Restaurant Dive, the fried chicken chain recently unveiled plans for a major expansion across North America. Popeyes, which opened 208 new restaurants in 2021, plans to surpass last year's growth by breaking ground on over 200 new restaurants in the U.S. and Canada throughout 2022.

In addition to its North American expansion — which will include the opening of a flagship Popeye's location in New York City's Times Square this summer — the company also revealed plans to expand its global restaurant portfolio, opening the first Popeyes locations in France, South Korea, Romania, and India, and expanding its presence in the U.K., Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and China.

The chain, which opened its first franchise location in Louisiana in 1976, has experienced major growth in recent years, driven by the staggering success of its fried chicken sandwich and a buzzy collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion (via Popeyes). The sandwich, which was released in 2019, caused a fried chicken-induced frenzy at the time of its release, prompting hungry customers to line up around the block to try to snag one of the sold out sandwiches (via Forbes).

The success of Popeyes' chicken sandwich has led to major growth

Arguably, the much-lauded Popeyes sandwich kicked off a heated fast food chicken sandwich war that has played out in the years since, prompting chains like McDonald's, Wendy's, and Taco Bell to release their own versions of an upgraded fried chicken sandwich in an effort to get a taste of Popeyes sandwich-fueled success (via Restaurant Business).

Since the release of the Popeyes sandwich, the company has grown substantially, becoming one of the fastest-growing brands in the portfolio of its parent company, Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Firehouse Subs (via CNN).

According to QSR Magazine, the chain is hoping that a wide-scale expansion will help continue its recent momentum in years to come. Many of the fast food company's upcoming restaurant locations will be outfitted with an upgraded kitchen design aimed at improving efficiency and creating a better work environment for employees. Popeyes also plans on implementing more self-order kiosks, digital order options, and curbside pickup operations at its newest restaurants. More than half of the chain's new global restaurants will also feature double drive-thrus in an aim to boost the speed of service.

Although the company experienced a 1.8% decline in same-store sales in 2021, Popeyes is hoping that by expanding its presence across the U.S. and abroad, it can solidify its position as one of the world's top fried chicken providers for years to come.