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Cajun Spice Just Right at Popeyes: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen serves up fast food with a spicy twist – Cajun style! The USA has several fast food restaurants selling fried chicken, but Popeyes gets its wonderful flavor from New Orleans, the city it was born in. The restaurant dishes out a lot more than chicken too. Cajun food is famous for using seafood, which is no surprise since Louisiana lies directly on the coast, and Popeyes fries up some of the best fish to go!

From rags to riches

When Alvin Charles Copeland opened the fast food chicken stand called “Chicken on the Run” in the New Orleans suburb of Arabi on June 12, 1972, he could’ve never imagined that his business would soon become a franchise with stores all over the world! Al Copeland was born on February 2nd, 1944 to poor farmers in New Orleans, Louisiana which makes his success a true American rags to riches story. Before he became a millionaire, Copeland’s first store attracted little business, but then he made the decision to make his food spicier. This new flavor gave his menu a distinctive New Orleans Cajun flare and people loved it on their chicken and fish! Copeland at this time also changed the name of his restaurant to “Popeyes”.

When one thinks of Popeyes, one automatically thinks of the cartoon sailor who becomes incredibly strong after eating spinach. Even though the chain had the rights to advertise with Popeye the Sailor until November 2006, Popeyes was not the inspiration for the name of the restaurant. Instead, Copeland was just a fan of the detective Popeye Doyle in the movie the French Connection. The name helped though and Popeyes became so successful that in 1976, Copeland had enough to open the first Popeyes franchise in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Within ten years, Popeyes had over 500 stores in Texas and the surrounding states. In 1992, the corporation America’s Favorite Chicken Company (AFC), Inc. was created and it became the parent company of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc.

Louisiana Culture on your Plate

Popeyes has over 2,000 franchises around the world, so people from across the globe can now try Cajun food without having to travel to Louisiana!  In the United States, you will find a piece of New Orleans cuisine in Texas, California, Florida and almost every other state as well as in around 30 foreign countries including South Korea, Costa Rica and Turkey. Cheryl A. Bachelder is the current CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Under her, Popeyes introduced “Annie the Chicken Queen” who has appeared in their commercials since 2009 to help advertise their Cajun food. Popeyes also advertises with their trademark jingle “Love that Chicken” which was sung and recorded by New Orleans funk and R&B musician Dr. John:

Chicken, Seafood Po’Boy and Jambalaya

Louisiana has a long shoreline, so it is no wonder that many of their dishes include seafood! Popeyes is unique in that it does not only serve up fried chicken, but also shrimp and fish. When Popeyes launched their BONIFIDE ® chicken brand, it beat Kentucky Fried Chicken in a National Taste Test. Chicken can be ordered spicy or mild on a bun or in a bucket! Their chicken is hand-battered and fried to perfection after being marinated in Louisiana spices for 12 hours. If you don’t like your chicken fried, you can order it blackened, which means it is grilled in a hot skillet after being dipped in butter and spices.

Some of their most popular seafood dishes include fried filet fish or butterfly shrimp. A popular sandwich is the Seafood Po’Boy which is a large scoop of fried shrimp on a roll with lettuce, pickles and tartar sauce.

Items on the menu can be ordered as a meal or individually as sides. Here you can try the traditional rice dish of Louisiana called Jambalaya. It is a mix of rice, tomatoes, onions, celery, peppers and sausage and it is spicy! If you would like something more mild, try their Cajun rice, red beans and rice, corn on the cob or cole slaw. They also serve up traditional southern biscuits that you can dip in gravy. Of course, like any fast food restaurant, you can order French fries and onion rings – but here with a special blend of spices! For those with a sweet tooth, Popeyes also offers apple pie, pecan pie and Mardi Gras cheesecake.

Community and Education

Education and providing children with strong support from the community has always been important to Popeyes and founder Alvin Copeland. Popeyes’ founder never graduated from high school and when he became a millionaire, he dedicated much of his time and money supporting poor children. The Popeyes Foundation, Inc. has partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to give high school students experience with the food industry. This gives students a chance to discover their talents. Furthermore, Popeyes Family and Friends Foundation helps employees get an education and provide financial assistance to any employees affected by natural disasters. Copeland also personally gave away Christmas presents to 1,000 needy children every year. He was very generous with his money, but never made his philanthropy known to the larger public.

We know you like your food fast, but how spicy do you like your food? Cajun food is spicy, but don’t take it from us, apply for the Green Card Lottery DV-19 and see for yourself how many chicken tenders or popcorn shrimp you can eat in the USA before you need a glass of water! Popeyes will give you a taste for southern U.S. food, but why not experience it yourself first-hand!

Official name: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

Official website: www.popeyes.com

Established: 1972

Founder: Alvin Charles Copeland

First Store: Opened in Arabi, a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Milestones:

  • First franchise opened in 1976 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • AFC Enterprises, Inc. becomes the parent company of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. in 1992
  • The 500th restaurant opened in Maryland
  • The 2,000th restaurant opened in Tennessee

Bestseller: BONIFIDE ® chicken tenders, Popcorn shrimp

Slogans: “Love that Chicken” and “Louisiana Fast”

Interesting Facts and Figures:

  • Al Copeland loved Christmas and would decorate his house with over half a million lights every year;
  • Al Copeland’s first experience in the restaurant business was selling donuts;
  • Ellen DeGeneres was in a Popeyes commercial in the 80’s;
  • Popeyes is in almost every U.S. state and in over 30 foreign countries.

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