Popeyes is still early in its journey, with strong long-term prospects for growth, according to Restaurant Brands International (RBI) executive chairman Patrick Doyle.

Speaking on an earnings call after the release of RBI’s Q1 2024 results yesterday (30 April), Doyle said the business has been a “little bit slower than we wanted” on growing the fried chicken chain, but is making the right long-term investments.

“We know what this brand is capable of,” he added.

His comments come as Popeyes UK has grown to a £100m business in two-and-a-half years, CEO Tom Crowley revealed earlier this week. The brand, backed by TDR Capital in the UK, has just opened a drive-thru in Manchester – its 11th opening of 2024 and 47th overall.

RBI reported global like-for-like sales growth of 4.6% in Q1, driven by 7.5% at Tim Hortons Canada, 4.2% at Burger King International, and 6.2% at Popeyes US. System-wide sales grew 8.1% year-on-year.

The company acquired Carrols Group, its largest Burger King franchisee in its home market, earlier this year. The transaction was part of the ‘Reclaim the Flame’ plan to accelerate sales growth and drive franchisee profitability.

The news came after master franchisee BKUK acquired 74 sites from its largest partner, Karali Group, in 2022.

“The plan is driving strong results,” CEO Josh Kobza said. “We’re on track to complete remodels, which we expect to be impactful on consumers and sales…it does really good things for the profitability of that unit.”

Up to 90% of the estate will be ‘modern image’ by 2028, with high quality remodels, relocations, restaurant technology, kitchen equipment, and building enhancements.

RBI is “on the right track” when it comes to the overall evolution of the Burger King offer, Kobza added.

“We continue to outperform the industry in the US with our product innovation and effective value mechanisms.

“Internationally, we have different strategies in different markets. We’re working on some markets for the right value offering, but are happy with the majority of markets.

“The results reflect that the value we’re offering is resonating with consumers.”

Commenting on the results, Kobza said: “I am proud of the hard work our teams and franchisees are doing to deliver high-quality products, great service and a compelling value proposition for guests every day. Our results are a reflection of their efforts and the strong foundation we have built that sets us up to drive continued improvements in franchisee profitability and deliver our long-term outlook.”