Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Popeyes - Is it the Nuggets?

Ethan Chernofsky
August 25, 2021
Popeyes - Is it the Nuggets?

If the chicken wars of summer 2019 taught us anything, it’s that a healthy chicken sandwich obsession is warranted. The rise experienced by Popeyes was so significant that it catapulted the chain into visit levels that reset the standard for the brand. 

So, using the launch of Popeyes’s new chicken nugget offering as an excuse, we dove back into the data from some of the chicken wars’ primary protagonists.

Popeyes Continues to Thrive

Looking at visits for Popeyes in 2021 compared to 2019 shows a clear and consistent trend of growth - even during months when visits to most QSR leaders were still limited by the pandemic’s effect. During the first seven months of 2021, Popeyes averaged 19.9% visit growth compared to the equivalent months in 2019, with July showing a 22.4% increase.

Popeyes’ Big Test Coming Up 

Yet, the biggest test is coming in August - the month in 2019 that marked the initial launch. The standard set in that month will likely push Popeyes into a visit decline compared to its 2019 equivalent for the first time in 2019 – not because of any weakness for the brand but simply due to the unique heights hit following the chicken sandwich launch. This is a reality even in spite of significant weekly visits growth compared to 2019 equivalents.

The expected ‘decline’ will need to be understood within the same frame of reference as the year over year drops from home improvement leaders Home Depot and Lowe’s, where the initial surge was so significant that it created a boost that pushed the brands higher than years prior. 

And, interesting product launches like the chicken nuggets may not be enough to stem this shift. Visits the week of the launch were up 12.3% compared to the equivalent week in 2019, but this was in line with visit growth seen the week prior, indicating that the period was more responsible for the jumps than the new offering. However, should Popeyes prove capable of driving growth in August, or even a limited decline, the result will be truly impressive

The Wider QSR Surge

Popeyes’s success is not happening in a vacuum. Looking at other QSR leaders with an emphasis on those who played key roles in the initial Chicken Wars or have had more recent entries, the strength seems well spread. All the brands analyzed have seen significant reductions in their visit gaps compared to 2019 with July marking a high point across the board.

While this success does mirror the strength seen in other dining segments, there is a key caveat when analyzing QSR leaders - they are less dependent on actual visits. Top QSR players have proven to be incredibly adaptive with their multi-channel reach across drive-thru, delivery and takeaway. This leads to two key takeaways that speak to the high potential for this sector in the short and long term. 

In the short term, wider concerns that rising COVID cases could lead to renewed restrictions may not negatively impact these brands, as they can adjust to a greater emphasis on other distribution channels during those periods. In the longer term, the strong recovery of in-location visits speaks to the strong pull these brands create at branches showing a wider ability to drive interest and demand across channels.

Can Popeyes continue to show growth even when compared to the heights of the initial Chicken Sandwich launch? Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship?