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A group of local investors under the business name, El Dorado Restaurants Inc., recently won the franchise and according to Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Robert Badal, each restaurant would cost about G$90M. More than 250 jobs will be created in total.
"Popeyes Chicken and Seafood Restaurant, a division of AFC Enterprises and the second largest but the fastest growing quick service chicken concept in the world - in terms of sales - has finally arrived in Guyana," Badal told a media conference yesterday at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.
The first Popeyes outlet would be located at the corner of Vlissengen Road and Duncan Street, Georgetown. Construction of the building is almost complete and Badal said the restaurant is expected to be officially opened next month.
He said it will offer a diversified menu including seafood Cajun style.
"The Cajun flavours of Popeyes Chicken and Seafoods will certainly delight the taste buds of all Guyanese with a flavour that's just like our people - spicy, bold, distinct and very unique.
"We are pleased to offer a menu that will consist of better tasting, healthy chicken and seafoods, and are proud to have the opportunity to introduce to Guyanese a new variety from a diverse menu filled with exciting dishes," Badal said.
In a brief background of Popeyes, he said that more than 26 years ago, a taste sensation that has been often imitated but never duplicated was born in New Orleans, U.S., and what began with one small restaurant and one big idea turned into a craze that swept America and the world.
He said in 1972, Popeyes' founder and New Orleans native, Al Copeland, who developed the exciting spicy flavours of Cajun foods, opened his first restaurant as 'Popeyes', after the Popeye Doyle character in the movie, 'The French Connection'.
"With his new Popeyes concept, Copeland made his mark on the world. He founded his success through fried chicken, and not just any fried chicken, but the delicious New Orleans style chicken that has made Popeyes famous throughout the world.
"The rest, as they say, is history," said Badal.
He said, too, that in April 1976, Popeyes opened its first franchise restaurant in Louisiana and today, the Popeyes brand is the world's second largest quick serve eating house with more than 1,800 outlets in more than 20 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Korea, Japan, Germany, Jamaica, Panama, Mexico, Honduras and Suriname.
According to Badal, Popeyes' 500th restaurant was opened in 1985, putting the brand on an equal footing with other national competitors in the USA.
In 1987, he said Popeyes introduced Cajun Popcorn Shrimp and in a nationwide taste test in the USA, it beat out Churches Chicken and KFC.
As a result of that test, Badal said Popeyes launched a campaign, 'America's Fried Chicken Champ - The Spicy Taste That Can't Be Beat'.
"This was one of Popeyes' first large scale campaigns and the first to include major billboard advertising," he told reporters.
Badal said Popeyes' menu consists of New Orleans style spicy and mild chicken which is non greasy, complemented by buttermilk biscuits and side orders that will certainly appeal to the Guyanese public.
Signature side items such as Popeyes' award winning red beans and rice, Cajun rice, as well as mashed potatoes with Cajun gravy and coleslaw, will be available at each outlet, while the seafood line would consist of shrimp and fish presented in exquisite style.
He also said only Halaal and locally produced chicken, seafood and vegetables will be used.
Badal was also optimistic that although the local fast food business is very competitive, the venture would be a success.
The first Popeyes Chicken and Seafood outlet which is going up on Vlissengen Road and Duncan Street is in line with two other thriving internationally known outlets - Pizza Hut and KFC.
Other officials of the recently established El Dorado Restaurants Inc. who were at the news conference were Mr. Manichan Rai, Director; Mr. Earle Aaron, General Manager; and Ms. Barbara Rampersaud - Shift Manager.