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Popeyes adds two items in changeover’s next phase

ATLANTA The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen chain is introducing a sandwich and a bowl meal in what officials describe as the next phase of the brand’s repositioning from a fried chicken specialist to a broad-menu quick-service option.

The additions are scheduled to debut today. Forming a new section called the Big Easys, the items include the Big Easy Chicken Sandwich, an all white-meat fried chicken breast served with lettuce and tomato atop diamond-shaped bread and garnished with a creamy sauce and Cajun seasonings. Franchisor AFC Enterprises Inc. said the price of the sandwich would vary by location.

The sandwich resembles a selection on Popeyes' prior menu called the Chicken Deluxe Filet.

The new bowl meal is the Big Easy Chicken Bowl, a bowl of red beans and rice topped with pulled chicken, “Cajun gravy,” shredded cheeses and parsley, AFC said. The company set the introductory price at $3.49.

Popeyes has offered a number of bowl meals it calls Louisiana Legends.

In August, AFC disclosed plans to rechristen Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which shifts the focus off what it now markets as Popeyes Bonafide Chicken. The spicy fried chicken has been the signature of the chain since it was founded in New Orleans in 1972 by the late Al Copeland.

Popeyes operates 56 restaurants and franchises 1,849 others. It is now the sole business of AFC, which at one time also owned the Church's Chicken, Cinnabon and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands. On Friday, the company noted in releasing preliminary third quarter financial results that domestic same-store sales had dipped year-over-year by 2.8 percent, compared with a decline of 1.9 percent for the year-ago quarter. It estimated its earnings per share at 16 cents for the period ending Oct. 5, compared with 23 cents a year earlier.

AFC said it would file complete third quarter results on Nov. 12.

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