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When Was Popeyes Founded: A Brief History of the Popular Fast-Food Chain

Popular fast-food company Popeyes is well-known for its mouth watering fried chicken and biscuits. Despite the fact that the restaurant has been open for many years, many people are still interested in its history. Many people really want to know when Popeyes was established and how it developed into the adored franchise that it is today.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Fast Food Restaurant

In 1972, Popeyes was established in New Orleans, Louisiana. Al Copeland, a man with a love of cuisine and a desire to introduce a novel fast food to the world, was the creator of the business.

Copeland had the idea to open a restaurant that featured unique, flavorful fried chicken that was not like anything else on the menu.

He was successful in his aim, and Popeyes swiftly gained popularity among both foodies and fans of fast food.

Today, Popeyes is one of the most popular fast-food franchises in the world with more than 3,000 stores spread across more than 40 nations.



In Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., also known as Popeyes, was established on June 12, 1972.

Al Copeland, the restaurant’s founder, opened it under the name “Chicken on the Run” in an effort to take on Kentucky Fried Chicken. After several months, the restaurant closed, but Copeland persisted.

He changed the restaurant’s name to Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits and debuted a new dish that would win over patrons.

Early Years

Early on, Popeyes had a hard time making ends meet and competing with rival fast-food companies.

The company’s fortunes did, however, turn in the 1980s when it started expanding quickly. In the US and Canada, Popeyes had more than 500 outlets by 1985.

America’s Favorite Chicken Company (AFC), which eventually changed its name to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., bought Popeyes in 1992.

The business kept growing and opening additional sites both domestically and abroad while it was owned by AFC.

Popeyes is now a part of Restaurant Brands International, the company that also owns Burger King and Tim Hortons.

The business, which has more than 3,000 restaurants across more than 40 nations, is well-known for its hot fried chicken and sides with a Cajun influence.


Al Copeland established Popeyes in Arabi, Louisiana, in 1972. Originally called “Chicken on the Run,” the eatery folded after a short period of time.

The restaurant was a hit once Copeland relaunched it under the name Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken. In 1976, there were 500 Popeyes locations across the country.

Popeyes opened restaurants outside of the US in about 30 different countries between the 1990s and 2000s, claiming a total of more than 3200 locations.

With a distinctive New Orleans-style menu that includes fried chicken, chicken tenders, shrimp, and other traditional Southern foods, Popeyes distinguishes itself today.

Popeyes has seen quick growth in South America, Europe, and Asia, and the company is heavily invested in international expansion.

Popeyes was purchased by Restaurant Brands International (RBI) for $1.8 billion in 2017, and under new management, the business has been growing.

In order to adapt to shifting consumer preferences, Popeyes has also been increasing its menu selections.

The business released its first-ever chicken sandwich in 2019, and it soon went viral and sold out across the nation.

Popeyes has since kept its fans interested and coming back for more by introducing new menu items and seasonal specials.


Fried chicken and shellfish dominated the menu when Popeyes was established in 1972. The original menu, though, was more vibrant and varied than it is now.

In Louisiana, the first Popeyes franchise debuted in 1976 with a wide selection of clams, “livers and gizzards,” rice dressing, BBQ beans, cole slaw, and other side dishes.

Popeyes has developed its menu over time and now serves a variety of dishes, including chicken sandwiches, tenders, wings, seafood, sides, and desserts.

The Classic Chicken Sandwich, Cajun Fries, Red Beans & Rice, and the Handcrafted Tenders are some of the most well-liked dishes on the menu.

The incorporation of Cajun spices and flavors on Popeyes’ menu is one of its distinctive features. The eatery takes pride in its Louisianan background and uses strong, spiciness tastes in many of its dishes.

The Spicy Chicken Sandwich, for instance, is a well-liked dish that includes a crispy chicken fillet seasoned with a combination of hot Cajun spices.

Throughout the year, Popeyes also serves a number of seasonal menu items, such as the Cajun Flounder Sandwich and the Chicken Waffle Tenders.

Customers frequently rush to try these things before they disappear because they are frequently only available for a brief time.

Overall, the menu at Popeyes has grown over the years to include a variety of products that satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences.

There is probably something on the menu that will satisfy your appetites, whether you’re in the mood for something hot, crispy, or sweet.


Popeyes is renowned for its creative marketing initiatives, particularly in the social media era.

The fast food restaurant franchise uses social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to interact with its customers and market its goods.

The introduction of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich in 2019 was one of the restaurant chain’s most effective marketing strategies.

By teasing the sandwich on social media and working with influencers to promote it, the chain generated excitement around the item.

Within two weeks of its release, the sandwich was sold out when the promotion went viral. Popeyes’ success in using social media to engage with its customers was demonstrated by the campaign’s success.

In its marketing initiatives, Popeyes has persisted in innovation. A limited-time promotion for the chain’s Cajun Flounder sandwich was introduced in 2021 and pushed on social media with the hashtag #LoveThatFlounder.

The rapper Quavo and Popeyes collaborated to make a music video for the sandwich that received millions of views on YouTube.

To engage its audience, Popeyes has also used humor into its marketing initiatives. The chain began a campaign in 2020 dubbed “The Sandwich is Back,” which made fun of the publicity surrounding their chicken sandwich.

During a mock press conference, in which actors took the roles of reporters, a Popeyes spokeswoman answered inquiries regarding the sandwich.

In general, Popeyes’ marketing initiatives have been effective in attracting customers and promoting its goods.

The chain’s success has been greatly influenced by its ability to use social media to promote its items.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was Popeyes founded?

Popeyes was founded on June 12, 1972, in Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The restaurant was initially named “Chicken on the Run” and was opened by Al Copeland. Copeland wanted to compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken, but his restaurant failed after several months. He then decided to rebrand his restaurant as Popeyes.

Who owns Popeyes?

Currently, Popeyes is a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International, a Canadian multinational fast-food holding company. The parent company also owns other popular fast-food chains, including Burger King and Tim Hortons.

What is Popeyes known for?

Popeyes is known for its delicious fried chicken and biscuits. The restaurant uses fresh bone-in chicken and marinades it for 12 hours before cooking. The chicken is then battered and fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy and flavorful dish. Popeyes also offers a variety of sides, including mashed potatoes, Cajun fries, and mac and cheese.

How many Popeyes locations are there?

As of 2021, there are over 3,400 Popeyes locations worldwide. The restaurant has a strong presence in the United States, with over 2,600 locations. Popeyes also has a significant presence in Canada, with over 300 locations, and in Asia, with over 200 locations.

Is Popeyes a franchise?

Yes, Popeyes is a franchise. The company offers franchising opportunities to entrepreneurs who are interested in opening a Popeyes location. The franchisee is required to pay an initial fee, ongoing royalties, and other fees to the franchisor. In return, the franchisee receives access to the Popeyes brand, training, and support.


In conclusion, Popeyes is a network of fast food restaurants known for its fried chicken and seafood selections. Al Copeland established the business in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1972.

Copeland first opened a modest eatery called “Chicken on the Run”; however, she eventually changed the name to “Popeyes” in honor of Popeye Doyle from the film “The French Connection.”

Popeyes has expanded to have more than 3,000 stores across more than 25 countries since its establishment, making it a truly international brand.

Popeyes was added to the portfolio of Restaurant Brands International in 2017 after being purchased for $1.8 billion, along with Burger King and Tim Hortons.

Popeyes is well-known for its spicy chicken, which is prepared using a special spice mixture and offered with a selection of sides including mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and biscuits.

To adapt to shifting consumer demands, the company has also added new menu items like chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and seafood dishes.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.