Popeyes chicken lands in S. Africa
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the latest in a flurry of well-known U.S. fast-food chains to test the South African market, will adopt a cautious approach to expansion as the company takes time to lure customers from more established brands such as KFC and Chicken Licken.
The seller of fried chicken will open the first of three South African outlets in the Johannesburg financial district of Sandton on Thursday. Siyaghopa Trading Group, a closely held investment vehicle that was awarded the Popeyes license by Canadian parent Restaurant Brands International Inc., is buying land to support a future rollout at a yet-to-be determined date, said Chief Executive Officer Jaye Sinclair.
The opening comes after Africa’s most industrialized economy slid into recession in the first quarter, while brands such as KFC have long dominated a fast-food market with an above-average share devoted to chicken. Competing with the Yum! Brands Inc. chain will be a “long process,” Sinclair said, although he’s confident that word will spread quickly once South Africans taste the Popeyes menu items. The company is seeking to replicate the early popularity of Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, all of which have opened South African outlets since 2013.