- Popeyes' chicken sandwich continues to boost sales in the U.S., with average sales per restaurant reaching $1.7 million on a trailing 12-month basis, Jose Cil, Restaurants Brands International CEO said during a Thursday earnings call with investors. During the second quarter, Popeyes also saw significant growth across every category on its menu, Cil said.
- Delivery grew four times at Popeyes compared to the same time last year, and sales continue to rise via Popeyes' mobile app during the quarter, Josh Kobza, Restaurant Brands International COO, said during the call. Digital sales made up 14% of total sales at Popeyes in the U.S., Kobza said.
- Popeyes increased comparable sales by 24.8% during Q2 2020 compared to 3% in the year-ago quarter, according to an earnings release. U.S. comparable sales were up 28.5% during the quarter.
Popeyes continues to be Restaurant Brands International's strongest brand during the COVID-19 crisis, with Burger King declining comp store sales by 13.4% and Tim Hortons posting a 29.3% decrease in comp store sales during the second quarter.
Popeyes' comparable sales recovered sharply into the positive 30s in April, improving into the positive 40s in May from a starting point of flat during the peak of the crisis in March, Cil said. Comparable sales at Popeyes are in the high 20s as of the end of July, Cil said, adding that the moderation in growth reflects large scale tests of the chicken sandwich and a highly successful big box promotion during the same period in 2019.
The chicken chain’s double-digit same-store sales growth throughout the crisis is particularly impressive compared to other top chains during this time, and would be notable even in a pre-pandemic environment. Its popular chicken sandwich, which launched nearly a year ago, continues to attract customers to the brand.
Chicken chains, in general, have proven to be strong during the pandemic, with experts telling Nation's Restaurant News that chicken travels well during delivery and has a health halo. Wingstop grew same-store sales by 32% during the second quarter, marking its most successful quarter since becoming public in 2015.
Off-premise sales generated a majority of Popeyes sales during the quarter, and the brand saw a lot of traction in its new and improved family offerings, Cil said. To continue the sales momentum it saw during the quarter, the chain launched a pizza party crashers campaign in July, Cil said.
"Positive sales momentum has substantially boosted restaurant owner profitability making Popeyes' unit economics in the U.S. some of the best in the business," Cil said. "Combining these strong unit economics with the excitement around the Popeyes brand, not to mention the real estate opportunities we see opening up across regions, reinforces our excitement about the brand's long runway for development in the U.S."