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.
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact