#FACTS The fast-food universe gave birth to a deep-fried, flame-broiled lovechild today: After weeks of swirling rumors, Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International announced this morning that it’s acquiring Popeyes for $1.8 billion. RBI also owns beloved Canadian-born coffee chain Tim Hortons.
RBI currently has more than 20,000 stores worldwide, with approximately 15,000 Burger King locations and 4,500 Tim Hortons; the Popeyes acquisition will add another 2,600 outlets to its portfolio. (Comparatively, fast-food superpower Yum Brands, which also has three brands under its umbrella — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — has more than 40,000 stores worldwide.) RBI is a fairly young corporate behemoth, having been formed in 2014 when BK purchased Tim Hortons for $11 billion.
The Popeyes acquisition will present major opportunities to spread fried chicken and those glorious greasy biscuits across the globe — though it’s got a long way to go if it ever hopes to rival the reach of competitor KFC, which has a whopping 18,000-plus locations worldwide. It’s also right on time to catch the burgeoning fried chicken trend, which has swept up everyone from fast-food chains to fancy chefs.
The deal is expected to close in early April.
#facts Al Copeland (popeyes founder) first chicken restaurant was called Chicken on the Run, because it was “so fast you get your chicken before you get your change.” But people weren’t into Copeland’s food, so he switched over to a Louisiana Cajun-style recipe and rebranded as Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken. Once that gained some traction, Copeland changed the name yet again to Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken. Eventually they were Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, before their latest rebranding turned them into Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. If you were wondering why they never picked up an apostrophe in all those name changes, Copeland always joked that he was “too poor” to afford one when he started out — and the tradition apparently stuck.