Popeyes chicken sandwich continues to drive sales

The Popeyes chicken sandwich craze may be long gone, but the effects of the sandwich’s release are still being felt at the register, according to the head of the restaurant chain’s parent company.

Jose Cil, the CEO of Restaurant Brands, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday that the chicken sandwich brought new regulars to Popeyes to try other menu items in the fast-food franchise. The sandwich, which was introduced in August with much fanfare both in the news and on social media, is now “a big part of our menu” and integral to the company’s international growth strategy.

“The chicken sandwich brought in the normal newspaper [fast-food customer] for lunch, the individual user and those people are coming in and not just eating the chicken sandwich, “Cil said in an interview with” Mad Money. ” Now they are experimenting and exploring the entire menu: desserts and side dishes items and drinks, as well as bone-in chicken and the sandwich, and we’re seeing the whole business grow, and it’s been fun to watch. “

Cil made the comments after Restaurant Brands, which owns Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons, released an update on the company’s progress since the coronavirus recession. The company said it started testing Popeyes chicken sandwich in Canada and is optimistic about those prospects. In the United States, same-store sales growth was in the “very high 20s” last week, Restaurant Brands said in the announcement.

Popeyes previously reported that sales at the same US store increased more than 40% in the third week of May. Most restaurants in the U.S. market are open for take-out and delivery, although most dining rooms remain closed, the company said.

“I’ve been in business for 20 years [and have] I’ve never seen anything like this, “Cil said, touting the results of the popular chicken sandwich nearly a year after its release.

“I have spoken to many people in the industry who have not seen it either, so we are excited,” he said. “We see it as an opportunity to continue to grow, connect well with our guests, expand the brand from a units point of view here in the United States and really create a great growth opportunity for the brand here in the United States and internationally.” .

Shares of restaurant brands rose 5% to $ 55.25 in Monday’s session. The stock has fallen more than 13% to date.