Illustration for article titled Popeyes 2019 fourth quarter sales up more than 35%—and you’ll never guess why
Image: Popeyes, Mykyta Dolmatov (iStock)

This past Monday, Restaurant Brands International, the company that owns Popeyes, announced that same-store sales in the fourth quarter were up 34% in 2019 over 2018 and close to 40% overall. This is a huge leap in the fast-food world; Jonathan Maze, editor of the trade journal Restaurant Business, tweeted, “Since 2007, we could find no other restaurant chain that can even come close to matching Popeyes’ +37.9% from last quarter. None.”

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How did this happen? I’ll bet you can’t even begin to guess.

Okay, if you’re a regular reader of this site, you know exactly why. The Popeyes chicken sandwich, which made its debut in August before disappearing after two weeks due to lack of inventory, came back full-force in November. That’s in the fourth quarter.

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RBI chief executive Jose Cil said that customers weren’t just buying chicken sandwiches—they were exploring the other items on the menu as well.

Micheline Maynard (who is also a frequent contributor to The Takeout) reported in Forbes that Cil still seemed “dazed by the experience.”

And yes, Popeyes will be expanding, though since it takes between 12 and 18 months to add a new store, customers won’t be seeing new outlets until later in 2020.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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