Performance of the United States based restaurant chain Popeyes in the fourth quarter was majorly boosted by its beloved chicken sandwich.
There was a 42 per cent growth year on year in the sales at all Popeyes restaurants in the last three months of 2019 to touch $1.3 billion, said Restaurant Brands International, the owner of brands Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons. There was a 34 per cent jump in the sale at those Popeyes restaurants that had remained open for at least 17 months.
This pushed the stocks of the company by 4 per cent.
Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich, that became an instant hit since its launch this summer became the biggest sales driver for the brand.
This menu was first introduced by Popeyes in August in the US. The sandwich sold out in less than two weeks as it was a hit among consumers who flocked to the stores of the brand. The company was taken by surprise by the “extraordinary demand”, it had said at the time.
Touted and marketed as the “biggest product launch in the last 30 years” by Popeyes, the sandwich comprises of a buttermilk battered and breaded white meat filet and it topped with pickles. Consumers are given a choice of mayo or a spicy Cajun spread and it served on a toasted brioche bun.
The menu item was brought back in the menu in November by the company after it went to great lengths to ensure that there is not another shortage of the product. And following the results of the fourth quarter, the company says that the interest of the consumers in the sandwich in the summer has continued into the fall.
The sandwich “has proven to be a game changer for the brand in every way,” said Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil in a statement discussing the financial results. During an analyst call discussing earnings, Cil called 2019 a “pivotal year” for Popeyes.
Customers who were drawn in into the restaurants because of the sandwich also resulted in the customers purchasing other products as well.
“For the vast majority of our guests purchasing the sandwich, we saw that they actually spent more on other products,” said Cil. “The traffic driven by the demand of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich helped drive growth in our entire menu.”
Cil added that there has been a growing interest among more US franchise operators about opening up new restaurants because of the fact that 2019 has been such a good year for the brand.
The success of the sandwich was also palpable from the reaction of the rivals. While there was a public spat between Wendy’s and Popeyes on Twitter as the former tried to promote its own version of the sandwich, a new form of fried chicken sandwiches was tested in some selected market in December by McDonald’s. In fact chicken breakfast sandwiches were also added to its national menu for a short span of time by McDonald’s.
(Adapted from CNN.com)