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Tue 23rd Mar 2021 - Popeyes to launch in UK
US fried chicken brand Popeyes plans UK launch: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick service restaurant brand, has announced plans to enter the UK this year, with the goal of opening 350 new restaurants in Britain over the next ten years. The brand, which was founded in Louisiana in 1972 and currently operates circa 3,400 restaurants across 29 countries, will enter the UK market as part of an agreement between PLK Europe, a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which also owns Tim Hortons and Burger King; Austrian-based, family-owned international conglomerate Ring International Holdings and hospitality-industry veteran Elias Diaz Sese. He is a former executive of RBI and is a shareholder and a director of Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland. Until October 2019, he was president for UK, Ireland & Scandinavia at the Kraft Heinz Company. He spent more than 15 years at RBI across a number of senior positions around the world. Sese told Propel there were three reasons why Popeyes was launching in the UK – the brand, the product and the people. He said: “The chicken sector in the UK has been growing over the past few years, but we believe there is a space in the market that we can own, and that’s why we are coming. The brand is a unique cultural icon in America. In terms of people, it is all about joy, celebration, generosity and music. We have been working on this project for a long time and we could have done it before or a little bit later but we thought this could be a very good moment.” He said the company was currently looking at a lot of potential locations, “but the process is not that easy”. The brand’s rollout in the UK will focus – in the short to medium term – on company-owned sites. Sese added: “Even with a number like 350, which is a big number, even in ten years’ time, if we do things right, that should be achievable in a market like this one. You look at what RBI has done in China, to show what can be achieved with Popeyes. The reception in China for the brand has been remarkable.” The first Popeyes restaurant in the UK is expected to open by the end of 2021 and will represent the brand’s 11th country in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, which already has more than 350 Popeyes restaurants. RBI acquired Popeyes for $1.8bn in 2017. The company said Popeyes launch into the UK market was expected to lead to “major investment in market-leading talent and digital innovation”. 

The NPD Group – eight trends of how covid has impacted eating out: From a surge in food deliveries, use of drive-thrus and vegan and veggie purchases to treats to beat boredom, insights firm The NPD Group has found eight trends of how covid-19 has impacted the sector. The NPD Group’s consumer data showed spend on food deliveries increased 50% during the 12 months to February 2021. Many consumers used delivery services for the first time – particularly older and more affluent groups, and about half of these new users of delivery services will stay. Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice), at The NPD Group said: “With more working from home, delivery has moved beyond the evening meal to an option for all times of the day. Deliveries of snacks and coffee has emerged as a growth area that will continue to expand in 2021.” Secondly, it found food collection orders were worth £400m to Britain’s local restaurants in February 2021. Research showed spend on digital click and collect orders grew 51% in the 12 months to February 2021 to reach £1.5bn. The NPD Group said meal deals and money off incentives have helped increase average spend up by 24%. During the pandemic, more than one third of all eat-out spend (almost £11bn out of a total of £31bn) was driven by some sort of deal or promotion. The fourth finding was a 50% increase in the importance of drive-thru spend for coffee chains and quick service restaurants. Data indicates £2.3bn was spent at Britain’s 2,000 quick service restaurants. Coffee chains with drive-thrus in the 12 months to February 2021 saw a 14% increase in spending versus the same period a year ago. Overall, during the pandemic, drive-thru spend represented 12% of total spend, a 50% increase in importance compared to pre-covid. During the past year, edible treats have helped relieve lockdown boredom. When wanting a treat, average spend per person is 10% higher than average. Consumers have spent more than £8.2bn on treating occasions, accounting for 26% of all spending in the 12 months to Feb 2021, compared with 18% a year earlier. The sixth finding was more than £1bn of consumer spending is now linked to offering vegetarian and vegan menu options. This represented almost 4% of total foodservice spending in the year to February 2021, up from around 2% pre-covid. Operators will be maximising the desire of eating and drinking alfresco, particularly from 12 April, Allport said: “With some scientists warning social distancing will be in place for years, not months, operators need to find ways to serve customers outside.” And the eighth point made by The NPD Group was the importance of customer service and to stand out, restaurants must “make sure their customers feel engaged and empowered to maintain their loyalty”. 
The NPD Group is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

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