Popeyes seeks franchisees for California expansion

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has launched a franchise campaign to recruit multi-unit operators in the Los Angeles and San Diego markets.

The quick-service chicken chain, a division of Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises Inc., has scheduled franchise seminars in Los Angeles on Oct. 26 and in San Diego on Oct. 27.

The 2,000-unit Popeyes is seeking experienced candidates that meet a specific franchisee profile to help build the brand in southern California. Franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of at least $250,000. Candidates should also have five years of proven expertise owning and operating restaurants.

“This is not for a starter franchisee. We want a sophisticated operator to come into the brand. They have the highest likelihood of success,” said Greg S. Vojnovic, Popeyes vice president of development.

The company is looking to open 24 Popeyes restaurants in the Los Angeles area and six restaurants in the San Diego area over the next five years, Vojnovic said. There are currently 75 Popeyes restaurants in the Los Angeles area and nine in the San Diego area.

“It’s the right time to expand in southern California because Popeyes’ share in the quick-service chicken market is at a 10-year high, and there is an unmet demand for the brand in Los Angeles and San Diego,” Vojnovic said.

Popeyes will compete against Chick-fil-A in southern California, which is also trying to grow in that region.

Popeyes’ new freestanding restaurants that opened in 2009 had an average sales volume of $1.27 million in 2010, Vojnovic said.

In fiscal 2010, Popeyes added 106 new restaurants to its global system. Overall domestic same-store sales increased 2.5 percent, compared with 0.6 percent in fiscal 2009.

“Popeyes is a brand with soul, offering a franchise opportunity unlike any other,” Vojnovic said. “It’s not for everyone and requires a leader who believes in accountability and takes as much pride in serving the front of the house as managing the back.”

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