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Popeyes, the Us Fried Chicken Master, Wants to Return to the Chinese Market, Plans to Open 1,500 Stores in 10 Years

Updated on August 5, 2019

Popeyes, a fast food chain belonging to the same group as Burger King, plans to officially enter the Chinese market in the near future.

On July 23, Popeyes issued a statement saying that it will enter the Chinese market in cooperation with local partner TFI TAB Food Investment Company (hereinafter referred to as TFI), and plans to open 1,500 new stores in China in the next 10 years.

Popeyes is part of the restaurant group Restaurant Brands International (hereafter referred to as RBI Group), which also owns the fast food chain Burger King and the Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons. Both of them are now open in China - Burger King is about 1000 nationwide. Home; Tim Hortons has nearly 20, all located in Shanghai.

Popeyes' local partner TFI has been working with the RBI Group for many years: in the past they operated the Burger King and Popeyes brands in the Turkish market. Since 2012, they have also helped RBI's food and beverage brands expand in China and become the Burger King's cooperation in China. partner.

Founded in 1972, Popeyes is known for its variety of fried chickens, represented by Southern American-style dipping sauce chicken, waffle fried chicken sandwiches, and solid muffins. Popeyes currently has 3,100 stores in 25 countries around the world. In Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore all have Popeyes stores. In some cities in the United States, Popeyes has a higher density than KFC.

In fact, earlier in 1999, Popeyes opened three stores in Beijing Wangfujing, Asian Games Village and Dalian under the Chinese name of “ Popular Thoughts ” . At that time, it also stated that it would open 50 new stores in Beijing in 2001 and 2002. With Dalian as the center, it has developed into three provinces in the east, and has opened 300 stores nationwide.

But this goal has not been achieved. At that time, China's fast food chain consumption culture did not rise, and Chinese consumers had limited acceptance of American fried chicken with strong taste. In 2003, Popeyes completely withdrew from the Chinese market. In 2007, Popeyes sought franchisees in China to try to enter the Chinese market, but it still failed.

Until now, Popeyes, which has opened more than 3,000 stores worldwide, has announced that it will enter China. But now, China's fast food chain market is completely different.

KFC and McDonald's two restaurant chains as outsiders firmly grasp China's share of first-tier cities to low-end markets. Business Insider reports that KFC, which entered China in 1987, currently has 5,000 stores in 1,100 cities in China. In 2016, it accounted for 11.6% of the Chinese fast food market, while McDonald's market share was 5.6%, about half of KFC. Some media such as Forbes believe that the successful localization strategy is the main reason for KFC's success in China. If you look at the new products from KFC, you will find that both the old Beijing chicken rolls and the skewers of salty barrels are grounded Chinese tastes. .


However, there are still many opportunities for the Chinese fast food industry to follow, and those foreign big and small restaurant chains obviously think so.

In the past few years, the American burger shop Shake Shack, the Japanese national coffee shop Doutor, the Mexican-style snack Taco Bell, the American mini-burger brand White Castle, etc., have opened stores in China and gradually tested the market. According to RestaurantDive , from 2014 to 2019, the annual growth rate of China's fast food industry reached 8.9%, surpassing the US's 3.9% from 2013 to 2018; other cities outside China's first-tier cities are growing rapidly.

Popeyes, which claims to open 1,500 stores in China, will face competition in the future, not just the fast-food chain of KFC and McDonald's. How to adjust the local menu for more consumers to accept, how to properly price, how to grasp the speed of the sinking market, and how to compete with local catering companies such as cheaper chicken chops, they will need to consider.


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