Burger King Buys Popeyes Chicken

A photo of the outside of a Popeyes Restaurant.

Photo credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Restaurant Brands International, the company that owns Burger King, will be buying Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8 billion. Popeyes is known for its Cajun cuisine and extremely popular fried chicken which can be found in its 2,600 restaurants worldwide.

Daniel Schwartz, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, is excited about the new venture.

“RBI is adding a brand that has a distinctive position within a compelling segment and strong U.S. and international prospects for growth,” he said in a statement. “As Popeyes becomes part of the RBI family we believe we can deliver growth and opportunities for all of our stakeholders including our valued employees and franchisees. We look forward to taking an already very strong brand and accelerating its pace of growth and opening new restaurants in the U.S. and around the world.”

Restaurant Brands International is already doing well in the fast food market due to Burger King’s rising sales, but this Popeyes purchase can make it a formidable opponent in the fried chicken arena, where KFC is still king. Wall Street seems to think it has a chance. As of Tuesday morning, the company’s value rose 19% (up from Friday’s closing numbers), bringing Popeyes’ stock up to $79 per share.

Popeyes was founded in the early 1970s in New Orleans, and has since become a staple for chicken lovers in more than 25 countries. Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, is just as excited as Schwartz when it comes to the RBI/Popeyes partnership.

“As Popeyes enters its 45th year,” she said, “it’s success reflects the amazing brand entrusted to us by founder Al Copeland, Sr. and the unique high trust partnership that we enjoy with our franchise owners. RBI has observed our success and seen the opportunity for exceptional future unit growth in the U.S. and around the world.

Restaurant Brands International also owns Tim Horton’s, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain.

Organic Fast Food Chain Scores Big Investment

organic food

Two former Costco execs are attempting a very different model of fast food restaurant. Called The Organic Coup, they only have one option so far, which is fried chicken that comes with popcorn. That chicken is certified organic and fried in coconut oil, and the organic popcorn is covered in caramel and drizzled with chocolate. That’s it. There are a variety of sauces to choose, and you can go with a bun, a wrap, or a bowl for the chicken, which costs $9.99. that’s kind of pricey for fast food, but compared to the $4 chicken sandwiches at most other fast food chains, the owners are expecting that people will pay for the quality difference.

And they seem to be, which is good considering they’re also paying their employees much more than the average fast food worker gets, between $14 and $16 an hour. They’re building on the Costco model of paying a living wage and being as efficient as possible. And, they just landed $7 million in financing which will allow them to open two dozen more locations next year.

Neither of the founders, Erica Welton or Dennis Hoover, have restaurant experience, but they’re both Costco veterans, which explains their business model. Welton was a food buyer for the bulk chain, and Hoover ran 53 of the companies warehouses, and helped turn Costco into the largest organic food seller in the world.

That experience seems to be paying off. The Organic Coup is the first fast-food chain in the country to be USDA-certified organic, which is sure to raise some eyebrows among potential customers who are concerned about where their food is sourced. The two sores so far are in San Francisco and Pleasanton, California, so the former at least has some pretty steep overhead. Things seem to be going well though, and depending on when and where they open their other locations, we should expect to hear good things about the company.

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