Popeyes Flexes Seafood Menu Muscle to Hook New Business
While best know for New Orleans-style fried chicken, the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (PLKI) chain of quick service restaurants (QSR) is spicing up offerings of fish and seafood dishes in a bid to boost traffic and generate new business.
In July the Atlanta, Georgia-headquartered company began promoting Cracked Pepper Butterfly Shrimp for $4.99, and earlier in the year its menu spotlighted Cajun Fish. The premium whole fillet whitefish is seasoned in a blend of Louisiana spices and served up crispy in Southern-style breading.
Other items on the seafood menu board include Popcorn Shrimp, Fish & Popcorn Shrimp, and Butterfly Shrimp. There are also Seafood Po’Boy sandwiches, featuring a choice of popcorn shrimp or fish fillets on a french baguette along with lettuce, pickles and tarter sauce.
“We are the only brand with, we believe, the credibility to sell fabulous seafood in addition to our well-known famous chicken,” said CEO Cheryl Bachelder during a recent conference call with restaurant industry and stock market analysts. “As you saw in both the menu with Cajun Fish and then in our promotion plan with Cracked Pepper Shrimp, seafood is a segment of our business that is adding customers, and adding variety to our menu choices.”
But don’t ask for spinach as a side dish. Instead there are a host of other items to choose from, among them: Cajun Fries, Buttermilk Biscuits, Red Beans & Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Onion Rings, Jambalaya and Cole Slaw.
The chain, which has 2,262 operating restaurants in the United States, 26 other countries and three US territories, registered a system-wide sales gain of 9.5% and a global same-store sales increase of 3.6% during the second quarter of 2014. Its gross margin of 31.4% of total revenue is ranked among the highest in the fast food industry. Furthermore, PLKI’s brand share in the quick-serve chicken segment has grown from 20.5% to 23.1% year-on-year, and quarterly gains have reportedly outpaced the rest of the sector for 11 times in a row.
Meanwhile, the company promoted Hector Munoz to chief marketing officer for US operations on September 4. Among his responsibilities are advertising, calendar promotional planning, long-range marketing goals, brand positioning for product innovation and core menu items, plus all other marketing communications, including digital strategy.
Prior to joining Popeyes in 2011, Munoz worked at Burger King and Long John Silver’s Inc.
Elsewhere on the executive personnel front, William P. Matt was named chief financial officer. In addition to finance, his background includes real estate, technology and operations.