Popeyes To Open 20 New Locations In Metro Indianapolis
By: Katie Parsons
on Thursday, April 05, 2012
Fried chicken lovers from Indianapolis will soon have 20 more reasons to cheer. The popular fast food chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen plans to open at least that many new stores in the metro Indianapolis area over the course of a few years.
The Atlanta-based chain has been around for over four decades and is trying to infuse its sales by launching a new look, added menu items and increased presence in metropolitan areas like Indianapolis. Ralph Bower is the president of Popeyes Restaurants in the U.S. and has a personal connection to Indy. For many years he operated several Domino’s Pizza restaurants in the area. He says that his new company is excited about “rebuilding” its presence in Indianapolis.
Popeyes had a few franchises in the Indy area that recently closed. Bower says that he is personally trying to “press the accelerator” on the 20 new proposed locations.
The new Popeyes’ restaurant design plan calls for 2,500 square feet and seating for 48 people. The average cost to build the new locations runs $800,000. Popeyes reports that roughly 60 percent of sales are takeout or drive-up but the company is trying to build a comfortable dine-in image for customers who wish to take advantage of it.
For now, there is just one Popeyes location in the Greater Indianapolis area. It is located in Boone County at the TravelCenters of America truck stop on I-65. It opened in December in the building of a former Wendy’s Restaurant. According to Bower, the spot is popular and proves that Popeyes has a place in the Indianapolis fried chicken market.
Real estate experts call the move by Popeyes a good sign that companies are regaining confidence in real estate investment in Indianapolis. The time is right for companies to cash in on low-priced construction materials and the affordable cost of land that is commercially zoned. In years past, both of these costs were up and it discouraged new business ventures during the recession.
Despite the availability of fried chicken at other chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken and even most grocery stores, Bower feels like Indianapolis will welcome Popeyes with patronage. He says that Popeyes is even considering using Indianapolis as a test market for new menu items, store design plans and operation procedures.
Recent food analysts have noted that fast-food restaurants are an especially sound investment as consumers respond well to the low price food options that places like Popeyes provide.