Retail in Asia


Popeyes reopens in South Korea

U.S. fast food chain Popeyes is returning to South Korea market, opening its first branch in Gangnam District, Seoul, on December 16.

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Fishery and textile trading company Silla announced it had signed a master franchise deal with Restaurant Brands International to operate the Popeyes brand in Korea.

“Chicken is one of the biggest growing categories of food in Korea’s quick service restaurant market,” said a spokesperson for Silla. “We are looking forward to offering Popeyes to customers who have been missing the brand.”

Opening near Gangnam Station, Line 2, the first Korea location will sell the brand’s signature chicken sandwiches, Cajun fries and biscuits.

Looking ahead, Silla said it plans to open three branches by the end of this year.

Popeyes first entered the Korean market in 1994 through a master franchise deal with TS Food & System, run by its subsidiary Popeyes Korea.

The fast-food chain had as many as 200 branches in 2004. However, the business faced headwinds due to rivals such as Moms Touch and KFC entering the market.

After years of competition, TS Food & System looked for a company that was willing to buy Popeyes Korea in 2018, without a buyer coming forward. It stopped operating the brand and shut down its remaining 10 branches in 2020 when the master franchise agreement expired.

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Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes serves a unique New Orleans style menu featuring the iconic chicken sandwich, spicy chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and other regional items.