Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the division of Restaurant Brands International Inc., has entered into agreement with its Tim Hortons developer, Cartesian Capital Group LLC, for the chicken-focused brand in China, the companies said Wednesday.
Toronto-based RBI said the non-binding term sheet with the New York-based private-equity firm would be for the exclusive development of the Popeyes brand across the People’s Republic of China. The deal is subject to execution of definitive documents, customary due diligence and approvals, the companies said.
“We are proud to grow the Popeyes brand in China and to bring its famous chicken sandwich and iconic products to guests in this exceptionally dynamic market,” said Peter Yu, Cartesian’s managing partner in a statement.
Cartesian has developed 450 of RBI’s Tim Hortons cafes in China.
“We are excited to build on our long-standing and successful relationship with RBI, spanning over a decade,” Yu said.
RBI had developed a handful of Popeyes through a subsidiary, including a flagship location in Shanghai in May 2020. However, a number of those have recently been reported closed. Two in Shanghai remain open.
“With the exception of lockdown challenges faced in China,” said José Cil, RBI CEO, on a recent earnings call, “our largest international markets have performed well beyond pre-pandemic sales levels.”
Popeyes, founded in 1972, has about 3,850 restaurants in more than 30 countries.
Since 2021, Popeyes has announced agreements to enter France, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom, and to expand in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Other international expansions over the past years include Brazil, the Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
In addition to Tim Hortons and Popeyes, RBI owns Burger King and Firehouse Subs.
Cartesian Capital founded and is majority shareholder of TH International Limited, the exclusive master franchisee for RBI’s Tim Hortons brand throughout China.
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