Popeyes reveals new look for international restaurants

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Popeyes reveals new look for international restaurants
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HOME > NEWS > INTERNATIONAL > POPEYES REVEALS NEW LOOK FOR INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANTS
Popeyes reveals new look for international restaurants
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Zydeco-inspired design is next step in chicken brand’s transformation
Lisa Jennings
Nov 6, 2015
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The unit that opened Nov. 6 in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, is the second iteration of the new international design.
Popeyes
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has a new restaurant prototype for international locations that
will attempt to spread a little zydeco spice around the world.
On Friday the chain opened its 2,500th restaurant globally, which was in Hatillo, Puerto
Rico — its second unit built with the new international design. The first opened in Costa
Rica earlier this year.
Dick Lynch, Popeyes’ chief brand officer, said the redesign represents a commitment of
the brand to international growth as it looks to develop new markets.
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“The Popeyes brand travels well,” he said.
“The Louisiana and New Orleans culture,
while not fully understood, is embraced.
Chicken is the No. 1 protein and rice is one
of the most widely consumed foods around
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the world. The world is waiting for
Popeyes.”
The international reimaging was a next
step in the 40-year-old fried chicken
brand’s continued transformation.
In 2008, Atlanta-based Popeyes
launched a rebranding effort to bring the
concept back to its Louisiana roots,
changing its name from the former
Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. In 2012, the
company began rolling out a reimaging
program across the U.S. that was
completed in record time, about 2.5
years.
Inside wall art is designed to educate guests about the
food and traditions of Louisiana. Photo: Popeyes
The company is bringing a design refresh
to international restaurants with the
hope of sparking new growth overseas,
where it has 500 units in 27 countries.
The largest international markets are
South Korea and Turkey.
Popeyes plans to add 85 to 95 new
international units in fiscal 2015, but the company has not yet given guidance on plans for
new openings in 2016. That will likely come with fourth-quarter results in February.
Third-quarter earnings are expected Nov. 11.
The new international design was developed by the same firm that developed the
domestic prototype: Tesser, based in San Francisco.
The goal was to present Popeyes as a more youthful, edgy concept. Photo: Popeyes
But, rather than repeat the same design used domestically, company officials wanted the
look and feel of the restaurants outside the U.S. to be a bit different, said Lynch.
The ultimate goal was to bring the Louisiana heritage to life, just as it was for the
domestic design. But international locations needed a more contemporary, youthful spin,
he said.
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“Our restaurants internationally tend to be more of a destination, a place where groups
will congregate, and a little more upscale,” said Lynch. “We didn’t want to move away
from or dilute the Louisiana aspect, but we wanted to make it more relevant around the
world.”
Tesser used the notion of zydeco music as
inspiration. “They said, ‘if zydeco were an
architectural style, what would it be?’” said
Lynch.
Native to Louisiana, zydeco represents
the diverse influences of the various
cultures that define the lower Mississippi
Delta region, particularly the French
Creole and West Africans.
The first location with the new international design was
“We had to tell the Popeyes story,” said
in Costa Rica, which opened earlier this year. Photo:
Lynch. “We had to educate other cultures
Popeyes
about what it means to be from New
Orleans or Louisiana, and about our food, like red beans and rice.”
The result was a design that is “funky, bold and colorful,” but simple, with asymmetrical
angles, he said.
The freestanding prototype has a balcony, with steel across the lower floor and wood on
the top, reflecting the style of the Lower Ninth ward of New Orleans. Not all international
units will be freestanding or two floors, he noted, but in-line and mall units will focus on
other aspects of the design.
Inside, there are murals of jazz musicians and the tradition of Mardi Gras. References to
the “seven nations” that contributed to Louisiana culture — Native Americans, French,
Spanish, Germans, English, Africans and Italians — are also reflected in wall art.
The new design will be used for new restaurants going forward, but existing units won’t
necessarily undergo remodels, as in the U.S., said Lynch.
“Internationally, older units aren’t as in as significant need, as some of ours were in the
U.S.,” he said.
Final rendering: Designers attempted to recreate zydeco music as architecture, with asymmetrical lines and the
balconies of New Orleans as inspiration. Photo: Popeyes
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter @livetodineout
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