Is Popeyes Set to Become The UK’s Next Fast Food Giant?

March 31, 2021

The UK has a fairly established fast food market. Estimates suggest that there are currently close to 26,000 eating outlets that declare themselves to predominantly focus on ‘fast food’.

While there are thousands of independent outlets serving absolutely every type of cuisine you can possibly imagine, there are a few companies that have managed to grow to the point where they are ubiquitous on every high street, and can be found across the country in train stations, airports and motorway service stations.

The latest figures available are from 2017, and though this is four years ago, it’s safe to assume that the landscape has not altered a huge amount.

  • Costa Coffee – 2,389 points of sale (not necessarily full outlets)
  • Subway – 2,378 outlets
  • McDonald’s – 1,285 outlets
  • Domino’s – 1,045 outlets
  • KFC – 847 outlets
  • Pizza Hut – 679 outlets
  • Burger King – 500 outlets
  • Nando’s – 392 outlets

Each of these corporations has been established in the UK for decades, with nearly everyone aware of their respective brand colours, locations and menu offerings.

With so many institutions already available, it would take a very brave company to try and upturn the apple cart and infiltrate this most established of groups – but could we be on the verge of seeing just that?

A New Global Challenger

Popeyes, which is a well-known chicken retailer in the US, with 2,499 outlets at the last count, is now looking to gain a foothold in the UK.

The company is incredibly ambitious – it recently opened its first Chinese store, and the owners have already announced that within a decade, it wants to see 1,500 Popeyes outlets across the country.

The board has also indicated that it wants Popeyes to become an established name in other key global markets, with South Africa, Spain and the Philippines all singled out as definite targets.

While the level of ambition is slightly more muted in the UK – the first branch is set to open at the end of 2021, with others to follow in the next 24 months should it be a success – it seems likely that, given the company’s drive, immense backing and its insatiable appetite for growth, Popeyes is going to go from strength to strength in the coming years.

An Imminent Change?

Will it be the UK’s next fast-food powerhouse? Only time will tell.

Will the brand start to become better known across the globe over the next decade, and will it come to have a similar brand recognition to other firms such as KFC? At the current pace, that seems inevitable.