|Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits (usually called just Popeyes, otherwise known as Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken) is a chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants owned since 1993 by the Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises (originally the America's Favorite Chicken Company). As of 2006, according to Popeyes is the second-largest "quick-service chicken restaurant group, measured by number of units", with more than 1,800 restaurants in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 20 countries worldwide including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico and Honduras. About 30 locations are company-owned, the rest franchised.|
Popeyes first opened in Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans in 1972 as "Chicken on the Run," owned by Al Copeland. The name was changed shortly afterwards, after the fictional detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the movie The French Connection (in turn based on a real detective Eddie Egan, whose nickname did not derive from the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor). As the company's official history states, Copeland sold "traditional mild fried chicken [but] business was slow, and Copeland realized that he'd have to sell a spicier alternative to his standard chicken recipe if he wanted to impress flavor-seeking New Orleanians. Copeland had already been experimenting with the flavorful Cajun recipes he'd been enjoying all his life and soon reopened his restaurant as 'Popeyes', named after the character Popeye Doyle...."
The chain would later license the namesake cartoon character for use as a promotional tool, which added to the confusion as to the source, though as of 2006 the company's history page on its website omits any mention of the cartoon Popeye.
Copeland began franchsing his restaurant in 1976, beginning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, adding approximately 500 outlets over the next 10 years, followed by 200 more afterward during a period of slower expansion. Copeland became a New Orleans icon due to his flamboyant lifestyle, including his eponymous power boat racing teams, and his annual Christmas light show at his mansion located in an upscale neighborhood in Metairie, La.
In 1989, Popeyes, then the third-largest chicken chain, merged with Church's Chicken, the second largest, though parent company AFC Enterprises continued to operate the chain separately. AFC sold Church's to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital Investments) on Dec. 29, 2004, retaining Popeyes.
AFC announced on Oct. 30, 2006, that Popeyes planned to introduce a trans fat-free biscuit as well as french fries containing one gram of trans fat by year-end.
In January 5 2007 the restaurants in McAllen Texas and all around the Rio Grande Valley suddenly closed down with out any warnings and notifications. The franchise tried to communicate with the 10 Popeye's restaurants but to no avail. It was later discovered that all 10 restaurants were sold out to Churchs Chicken, however the main Corp franchise denied knowing anything about it."We are still reviewing our options,"stated a spokeswoman for Popeyes. Closing the restaurants would be in violation of the local franchisees agreement. The fate of the former locations is still undecided even though construction crews are working in remodleing the sites.
Style and marketing
The restaurants have a distinctive red and yellow color scheme. TV and radio ads often use New Orleans style music, along with the trademark "Love That Chicken" jingle sung by New Orleans funk and R&B musician Dr. John.
. A "Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits" sign appears in the 1984 movie and comic book adaptation Supergirl, as well as in backgrounds in various DC comics during that era.
. In the 2000 movie Little Nicky, starring Adam Sandler a demon stated "Popeye's chicken is the shiznit" before being zapped