A handful of the new restaurants will be in New York City, including a new flagship location in Times Square as well as others in Manhattan and Staten Island.
The Times Square restaurant, set to open in June around the brand’s 50th birthday, will include special features such as a new design, branded merchandise, self-serve kiosks and some type of 21st-century dumbwaiter described as a “two-story food transporter “for customers dining on the second floor.
“Popeyes is one of the fastest-growing brands within RBI, particularly as it relates to building new restaurants,” Popeyes president Sami Siddiqui told CNN Business. “The majority of growth is expected in the US and Canada, where the business has accelerated substantially.”
Siddiqui’s comments echo those made by RBI CEO Jose Cil earlier this year. “Development remains a key priority … for the brand for long-term growth,” Cil said during an analyst call in February. “We’re just scratching the surface on opportunities for Popeyes, and I firmly believe that the brand is poised to become one of the fastest growing in the industry.”
Cil’s comments are reflected in Popeyes’ performance during the pandemic. It’s been a jewel in RBI’s portfolio, especially when compared to the challenges its other brands faced early in the pandemic.
In 2020, sales at Tim Horton restaurants open at least a year fell by 17.5%, and sales at Burger King spots open at least a year dropped 11.1%. By contrast, Popeyes sales jumped 17.7% in that same period, thanks in part to customer interest in the chain’s chicken sandwich.
Last year, Tim Hortons and Burger King bounced back. Sales increased 12.5% at Tim’s restaurants open at least a year, and 15.9% for the same category of stores at Burger King.
Popeyes also saw improvement in 2021, though it was more modest after its gains in 2020: Sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 7.3% last year. Popeyes opened 208 new restaurants throughout 2021, making it “a milestone year,” Cil said in February.