Where Did Popeyes Originate? The Origin Story You Need to Know!

Popeyes is a well-known restaurant chain in the United States that specializes in southern-style fried chicken. The fast-food chain has earned a reputation for its delicious food, serving up everything from chicken tenders to biscuits and gravy. But where did Popeyes get its start? In this article, we are going to explore the origin story of Popeyes, the fast-food restaurant we all know and love today.

The Early Days

The story of Popeyes dates back to 1972 when it was founded by Al Copeland in New Orleans, Louisiana. The restaurant originally operated under the name “Chicken on the Run” and served traditional fried chicken. However, after a handful of unsuccessful store openings, Copeland decided to rebrand the restaurant to appeal to a wider audience.

The Birth of Popeyes

In 1972, Copeland changed the restaurant’s name to “Popeyes,” inspired by the fictional character Popeye the Sailor. He believed that the name would be more memorable and appealing to customers, especially children who were big fans of the cartoon character.

The restaurant’s signature dish, the spicy chicken, was also introduced around this time. Copeland experimented with different spices and herbs until he found the perfect blend to use on the chicken. The recipe is still a closely guarded secret to this day.

Expansion and Growth

Popeyes was an instant hit with customers, and the franchise began expanding rapidly. Within a few short years, Popeyes had opened over 500 restaurants across the United States, Canada, and other countries. The brand’s success was largely attributed to the spicy chicken, which quickly became a fan favourite.

Acquisition by AFC Enterprises

In 1992, Popeyes was acquired by AFC Enterprises, a global fast-food company that also owns Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and other restaurant chains. The acquisition allowed Popeyes to expand even further, with the company opening restaurants in countries like Japan, Brazil, and Egypt. AFC Enterprises eventually changed its name to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2014, further cementing the brand’s identity.

The Menu

Popeyes is known for its southern-style chicken, but the restaurant chain also serves other dishes like shrimp, chicken tenders, and fish. Here’s a closer look at some of the items on the menu:

Item Description
Spicy Chicken Marinated in a blend of Louisiana seasonings, battered, and fried until crispy.
Biscuits Served warm and flaky, with a crispy exterior and soft interior.
Red Beans and Rice A savoury side dish made with small red beans, cooked with Cajun seasoning and served over rice.
Buttermilk Biscuit Shrimp Tender shrimp marinated in buttermilk, coated in a crispy breading, and fried until golden.

Fun Facts About Popeyes

  • Popeyes has been featured in popular culture, appearing in TV shows like The Simpsons and movies like Forrest Gump.
  • The brand’s signature red-and-yellow colours were chosen to represent New Orleans, the restaurant’s birthplace.
  • There are over 3,000 Popeyes restaurants all around the world, making it one of the largest fast-food chains in the world.


Popeyes has come a long way since its early days as Chicken on the Run. With its signature spicy chicken and Southern-style dishes, the restaurant chain has become one of the most popular fast-food chains in the world. We hope you enjoyed learning more about the origin story of Popeyes and the man behind the brand.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is the headquarters of Popeyes? The headquarters of Popeyes is located in Miami, Florida.
  • Who founded Popeyes? Popeyes was founded by Al Copeland in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1972.
  • What is Popeyes known for? Popeyes is known for its spicy chicken, biscuits, and southern-style dishes.
  • How many Popeyes restaurants are there? There are over 3,000 Popeyes restaurants all around the world.
  • What is the most popular item on the Popeyes menu? The most popular item on the Popeyes menu is the spicy chicken sandwich.


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