US chicken chain Popeyes reveals location of first UK restaurant

24 September 2021 by
US chicken chain Popeyes reveals location of first UK restaurant

US chicken chain Popeyes has confirmed its first UK restaurant will open at London's Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in November.

The group, which is aiming to grow to 350 UK sites over the next 10 years, has taken the 1,531 sq ft former KFC unit in the food court.

Popeyes was founded in New Orleans in 1972 and runs 3,400 restaurants in 29 countries.

Further UK sites are due to be announced in the run-up to the November opening as part of a rolling expansion plan led by Tom Byng, who is no relation to the Byron founder of the same name. Byng joined Popeyes as chief development officer in June from a role at Franco Manca and Real Greek owner Fulham Shore, where he helped grow the business to more than 70 sites in five years.

Byng said: "The pandemic has accelerated changing consumer habits, and this has closely informed our UK real estate strategy.

"Experiential retail and customer convenience will be key to the recovery of bricks and mortar post-Covid, which is why we're making in-store experiences and drive-throughs a central part of our UK rollout. This will be further enhanced by our digital-first offering. Westfield Stratford City is a prominent site with an unrivalled profile, and so provides us with a brilliant platform to begin this journey."

Tom Crowley, former chief executive of Boparan Restaurant Group, was named UK chief executive of Popeyes in April.

The brand, known for its chicken tenders and fried shrimp, made headlines in the US when the launch of its spicy chicken sandwich sparked long queues outside its stores, leading to a nationwide shortage.

A number of other international chains are also targeting expansion in the UK. Filipino fast food chain Jollibee is investing £30m in its UK growth, while US burger brand Wendy's is planning to open "hundreds" of restaurants within the next few years.

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