Popeyes plans to spice up fast food sector
Vlissengen outlet to open next month

Stabroek News
January 17, 2003

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In the last few years overseas fast food franchises have sprouted up in the city and the newest arrival is Popeyes Chicken & Seafood.

The owners of El Dorado Restaurant Inc of Farm, East Bank Demerara, yesterday officially launched the coming of the restaurant chain's spicy dishes at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel. Robert Badal, Chief Executive Officer, Manichan Rai, Director and Earle Aaron, General Manager are the key players in introducing the new taste to Guyana.

The company plans to set up five restaurants across Guyana expected to create employment for 250 persons.

The first restaurant should open early next month at the corner of Duncan Street and Vlissengen Road where the old Xanadu Disco was located. Around $90M has been invested in the new restaurant and this is the amount of cash the key players plan on spending in opening the four other restaurants. Another is expected to open later this year while the remaining three will be rolled out over the next three years.

While the details have not been worked out, Badal promised that the prices would be competitive. The company will also be looking to offer home delivery since most of their competitors offer that service. There will also be a drive-through window.

He said Popeyes has certain protocols that they use all over the world and in terms of ambience it has a "blend that matches the unique style and taste of Guyanese with outdoor dining, indoor dining and there is a tremendous amount of parking space."

The tentative opening hours are from 10 am to midnight.

Badal told reporters yesterday that Popeyes' menu consists of New Orleans style spicy and mild chicken which is non-greasy, complemented by buttermilk biscuits and side orders that he feels will appeal to the Guyanese public.

Signature side dishes include Popeyes award winning red beans and rice, Cajun rice, as well as mashed potatoes with Cajun Gravy and coleslaw.

The seafood line consists of shrimp and fish. While it has not been decided who will supply the halaal chicken, Badal said it would be locally produced along with the vegetables.

"I am confident it will work, I am confident it will grow, I am confident we will be a market sharer. The basis of that confidence is the Cajun flavour and the taste and sensation of Popeyes chicken", he asserted.

Badal said that he is well aware that two of the chain's biggest competitors are just a stone's throw away from his restaurant but he feels Popeyes has a competitive product.

"We have a product that appeals to everyone. I think what distinguishes us is that our chicken is not so oily, it is not so fatty, it is a bigger piece of chicken and the French origin of the spice." He also promised that the staff members will be courteous.

Giving a background to the Popeyes Chicken & Seafood Company, Badal said that in 1972, Popeyes founder and New Orleans native Al Copeland, who developed spicy flavours of Cajun foods, opened his first restaurant 'Popeyes' after the Popeye Doyle character in the movie 'The French Connection.' (Samantha Alleyne)

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