Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is bringing its popular Rip’n Chick’n back to its menu for a limited time, continuing its strategy of building incremental sales and drawing new customers with LTOs.
First introduced last year, Rip’n Chick’n is a chicken breast cut partway into strips, marinated, deep-fried and served with a side of dipping sauce.
“People love it,” said Amy Alarcon, vice president of culinary innovation for Popeyes. “It drove sales; our franchisees loved it. It fits our operational strategy in the back of the house…it was a home run for us.”
Popeyes has built much of its marketing strategy around its monthly limited-time offers such as Rip’n Chick’n. LTOs make up about 5 percent to 10 percent of sales for the chain, Alarcon noted, but it varies by store.
The company has a defined path for these limited-time offers, she said. “Products go from 300 random ideas all the way down to the five new products we’ll pull out every year,” she said. “We ask: Is it believable from Popeyes? Is it a fit for the brand? Are customers going to make a special trip for this product?”
Alarcon added, “You’ve got to have that great marketing story…Everything we do has to be filtered through what we call the ‘Louisiana Lense. And, of course, it has to deliver on the consumer experience.”
While Popeyes doesn’t share sales numbers related to specific limited-time offers, Alarcon noted that the chain usually brings back promotions that customers like and buy. Sales and engagement with a limited-time offer tends to grow each time an item is offered, she added, since loyalty builds over time.
The limited-time offers are intended not only to drive incremental sales, but also to draw new customers who may not yet be loyal to the brand.
“Obviously, we want to protect our core, but we want to make sure we talk to other people who might not come in for chicken on the bone,” she said. “We’ve really built up a great arsenal of limited-time offers.”
Alarcon noted that Popeyes is not likely to add popular LTOs such as Rip’n Chick’n to the menu permanently.
“At this point, it seems like when you take some of these successful LTOs and put them on the menu, they get kind of buried,” she said. “We like to bring things to the forefront…for us, it’s keeping fresh news for the guest."
The quick-service chain’s parent company, Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises Inc., has more than 2,100 Popeyes locations systemwide.