Popeyes’ China Debut Was Its Most Successful New Market Entry So Far
On May 15, Popeyes officially opened its location in Shanghai, China, and despite the ongoing pandemic, the turnout marked its most successful new market entry in its 48-year history, Forbes reported.
Along social media buzz and hundreds of customers waiting hours in line for the flagship Shanghai restaurant, the results of Popeyes’ opening were indexed against more than 3,300 restaurants in 25 countries, which found its numbers to be very promising.
Domestically, the Louisiana fried chicken chain restaurant saw a 30 percent Q1 sales growth as well as a 40 percent increase in visits despite the pandemic.
The Shanghai flagship store has a menu that has slightly adapted to the Asian preferences as the signature chicken sandwich is now made with dark meat, but classics such as bone-in chicken are preserved. Experts showed optimism in Popeyes’ growth in China, as chicken production and consumption continue to increase in China due to high pork prices.
“China is one of the largest chicken-eating markets in the world and we are committed to establishing and growing the Popeyes brand over the long term,” Sami Siddiqui, president of Popeyes Asia Pacific, said. “Despite the lingering impact of COVID-19, we have been thrilled with the early results and feedback from guests on our first opening. This reinforces our commitment to growing Popeyes in China.”
Before the coronavirus crisis, China’s fast food industry was on the rise, as it increased by around 9 percent from 2014 to 2019, compared to less than 4 percent in the U.S.. Popeyes plans to open 1,500 outlets in China in 2030.
Popeyes made its first entry into China in 1999, when it opened a store in Beijing under the name Paipaisi. It planned on opening 300 locations nationwide by 2002. However, the chain restaurant failed to survive in China and exited in 2003.