ATLANTA – Popeyes unveiled its plan to expand the Atlanta-based chicken chain’s footprint globally while beating back burger makers that are challenging the company for customers. CEO Cheryl Bechelder and CFO Will Matt discussed the company’s growth strategy during an earnings conference call with analysts on Feb. 24.
The company’s “next-generation Strategic Roadmap” will focus on three pillars: Louisiana Heritage, the company’s key differentiator from competitors; Passionate Teams in which people drive profitability; and Routine Excellence, which entails delivering consistent operational excellence at Popeyes restaurants.
As part of this Strategic Roadmap, Matt said the company plans an incremental spend of approximately $2 million toward sending more operational team members into the field and building a business case for development of a single technology platform for Popeyes restaurants.
|Cheryl Bechelder, CEO of Popeyes|
“To coach our restaurants to success we will invest in more operations field team members who will visit restaurants more often,” Bachelder said. “We will increase this team, which allows us to double the number of restaurant visits annually. This new protocol of operating standards, frequent restaurant visits and quality coaching measured by a balanced scorecard will help our restaurant become routinely excellent.”
On the technology front, Bachelder noted that the lack of a common technology platform has hampered the advancement of the business. Company leadership has decided to build a common technology platform that will better support restaurant general managers while improving the Popeyes experience for workers and diners. But the company plans to build the business case for a new, single technology platform before building the platform itself.
“This is a significant strategic undertaking,” Bachelder said. “As such, our 2016 IT investment will be focused on just two things: Putting employees to [work with the] new CIO and partnering with an industry leading consulting partner.
“We will scope the forward plan we intend to undertake with a business case, talent plan, and the investments well defined,” she explained. “Note that we will not be launching new restaurant technology this year, instead we’ll build the case and plan for this investment, so that by the end of the year we can share with you the implication of this exciting endeavor.”
In addition to strategic investments in team members and technology, Bachelder announced Popeyes plans to expand globally by increasing its restaurant count from 2,500 to 4,000.