US FRIED chicken chain Popeyes has announced plans to open its first stores in the UK, with the first coming before the end of this year.

The fast food chain, which runs 3,400 restaurants globally revealed plans to open 350 stores in the UK over the next 10 years.

The KFC competitor has seen a rapid growth in popularity in continental Europe in recent years and now wants to welcome UK customers.

The chain rolled out its brand into Spain and Switzerland over the past two years but said it sees the UK as its “next big opportunity” for growth.


Elias Diaz Sese, co-founder of Popeyes UK, said he expects the brand to resonate strongly with customers and believes their expansion plan can create hundreds of new jobs.

“The UK is such an exciting market and we think the authenticity of our brand and product is something customers here want to see,” he said.

“We think we will really benefit the communities we move in to.

“It’s difficult to say exactly what the scale will be right now, but we are looking to create hundreds of jobs in the restaurants and in the supply chain.”

Popeyes, which was founded in New Orleans in 1972, will launch in the UK as part of an agreement between Restaurant Brands International, Ring International Holdings and hospitality veteran Mr Sese.

Mr Sese, who is a non-executive director at Dominos Pizza UK, said it is in talks over its first restaurant locations.

He said: “We can’t confirm anything yet, but we are most probably looking at opening a flagship site in London.

“There are great locations for opening across the country and we are looking at our options right now.

“We are definitely looking at both busy city centre locations and neighbourhood high streets.”

The announcement comes as restaurants around the UK remain closed to dine-in customers due to lockdown restrictions, with sites able to open outdoors from April 12 at the earliest.

Popeyes said it plans to use a raft of channels including delivery and takeaway when it launches in the UK.