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India key to long-term growth plans for Popeyes: Global CEO

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The company’s Indian franchise Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL) is looking to have around 250 stores of Popeyes in the next four to five years

New Delhi: India is a central component to the long-term growth plans for US-based fried chicken brand Popeyes, owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc, its CEO Joshua Kobza said on Wednesday.

Restaurant Brands International Inc — a leading global quick service restaurant chain operator with brands like Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs — also sees India as a potential major market for it in the future.

It is present in the Indian QSR market with 3 brands – Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, with different partners.

The company’s Indian franchise Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL) is looking to have around 250 stores of Popeyes in the next four to five years.

India is “one of the potential markets” for the group and a “central component of our long-term growth plans” for Popeyes, Kobza told PTI.

“India is one of the potential markets for us. It has one of the largest populations in the world and it has exciting demographic trends with a young population. It is growing in income, that means you have more potential consumers, a lot of investment in infrastructure is happening…for me, these are basics for an attractive market,” he added.

According to Kobza, Restaurant Brands International operates over 4,000 restaurants of Popeys in several markets globally.

“In all the markets that we go into, we are famous for, and we are known for, it is bringing the flavours of Louisiana to the world, and that comes to life in the fried chicken that we serve,” he said, adding it brings that with some local relevance as well.

On the competitive landscape in the Indian fried chicken market, he said, “We compete with a lot of different competitors around the world like KFC. We do that very effectively on the basis of the best products… India is a huge growing market and creates lots of space for more options in the category like chicken”.

Asked when Restaurant Brands International would introduce its fourth brand Firehouse Subs to the Indian market, he said it will be introduced someday without committing to a timeframe.

Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL) CEO Sameer Khetarpal said the company is looking to have around 250 stores of Popeyes in the next four to five years.

The company is celebrating its first anniversary of Popeyes in India and is quite upbeat about the demographic trends, which will fuel the growth of the brand, Khetarpal said.

“We have a median age population of 28 years, which is going to eat out and as disposable income grows, There is a huge headroom for this category to grow,” he said, adding the company is encouraged by consumers’ response and food ratings, giving it a reason to expand the chain rapidly.

On the expansion plans of Popeyes, Khetarpal said, “We want to get 50 stores in the next 12 months and 250 in the medium term (4-5 years)”.

JFL launched Popeyes in India in January 2022. It presently operates a total of 13 stores in Bengaluru and Chennai.

On the competition from rival KFC, which also operates QSR chains in a similar format, Khetarpal said that the market is very big and there is enough headroom for all. The overall estimated size of the food service market is USD 450 billion.

Restaurant Brands International has more than USD 35 billion in annual system-wide sales and over 28,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

JFL, part of the Jubilant Bhartia Group, holds the master franchise rights from Domino’s Pizza in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. It also operates Dunkin’ restaurants.

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