Hankering for Popeyes' chicken sandwich serves up sales feast for franchisee

Rival chains don't serve burgers, but they've still got a beef

The popularity of Popeyes' coveted chicken sandwich is still driving same-store sales higher months after its August debut.

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From October to December, Popeyes' locations overseen by franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group, saw revenue jump 21 percent at eateries open at least a year. Carrols operates 1,100 restaurants, 65 of which are Popeyes eateries. Overall, Popeyes -- owned by Restaurant Brands International -- has more than 3,100 stores in the U.S. and around the world.

AP

POPEYES' CHICKEN SANDWICH RETURNS TO ENTHUSIASTIC FANS

To date, Carrols is the largest franchisee of Restaurant Brands, which also owns quick-service restaurants Tim Hortons and Burger King.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
QSRRESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC.65.30+1.17+1.82%
TASTCARROLS RESTAURANT GROUP INC5.11-0.28-5.19%

Before the chicken sandwich wars broke out on social media in August, Popeyes locations were selling roughly 110 sandwiches a day. The digital debate, however, drove sales at some Carrol's sites to more than 1,100 per day, Daniel Accordino, CEO of Carrols, said at a conference in Florida on Tuesday.

The viral furor began when Popeyes' introduced a new chicken sandwich to better compete with Chick-fil-A, then engaged in a social media boxing match with the chain known for closing on Sundays.

WHY IT TOOK MONTHS FOR POPEYES TO BRING BACK ITS CHICKEN SANDWICH

"I don’t think there has ever been anything like this," Accordino said. "It is a game-changer for Popeyes."

The popular sandwich is changing the demographic profile of the fast-food restaurant's guest, giving the brand a chance to expand into untapped markets.

"The thought is that this will provide us with opportunities that we might have otherwise passed on in markets where we currently operate Burger Kings," the Carrols CEO said.

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