- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has announced a new agreement with master franchisee Restaurant Brands Iberia to expand in Spain. According to a press release, Popeyes is focused on becoming the market leader in Spain.
- The expansion is part of parent company Restaurant Brands International’s goal of reaching 40,000 global restaurants in the next eight to 10 years. RBI currently has 26,000 restaurants through the Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons brands.
- Restaurant Brands Iberia has been the master franchisee of Burger King in Spain since 2017 and of Tim Hortons in Spain and Portugal since 2017.
No details about the planned unit count in Spain were disclosed in the press release. During RBI’s Q1 earnings call in April, CEO Jose Cil said the company has begun to accelerate its international growth with the Popeyes brand and, considering the success RBI has had with Burger King in the market, Spain makes plenty of sense. Burger King’s first quarter comp sales in international markets were up nearly 4%, with Spain as one of its biggest drivers.
“Our global network of proven, well capitalized operating partners, combined with the strength of the brand and product offering gives us conviction that Popeyes can be one of the fastest growing QSR brands in the world,” Cil said during the earnings call.
More QSR brands are eyeing international expansion as the domestic market continues to struggle with saturation. Spain is an interesting market for such growth — a 2016 study found that the country’s citizens eat the least amount of fast food of any industrialized country in the world. But that could already be changing. A report from the EAE Business School found predicts that expenditures on fast food in Spain increased will rise by 50% between 2016 and 2021.
According to Aaron Allen & Associations, the European fast food landscape is shifting quickly as consumers become time constrained. The firm predicts heavy potential for Spain specifically, as it’s projected to have relatively high GDP growth in the next three years, which correlates with higher food away from home growth.
In Spain, Popeyes will have to contend with market share leaders McDonald’s, Burger King, Pans & Co., Rodilla and KFC. But just one of those — KFC — is a chicken chain, so there seems to be plenty of runway here for Popeyes to stretch its legs.