Popcorn shrimp to star in Popeyes’ 1,700-restaurant expansion in China

Popeyes in China

TH International Limited, known as Tims China, began a nationwide expansion of Popeyes in China on 19 August when it opened its flagship restaurant in Shanghai.

The restaurant, which serves several seafood items, including the chain’s signature popcorn shrimp, is the first of at least 10 Popeyes restaurants that Tims China will open in Shanghai this year, it said in a press release.

Tims China, founded by Cartesian Capital Group and Tim Hortons Restaurants International, a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International, is the exclusive operator of Tim Hortons and Popeyes franchises in China. It said it plans to open 1,700 Popeyes locations across China over the next decade.

We are thrilled to open our first Popeyes restaurant in China, a milestone in our longer-term strategy to establish a strong presence across the country leveraging Timsinfrastructure and operating expertise,” Tims China Chief Executive Officer Yongchen Lu said. “Our proven track record of opening 700 Tims stores over the past four years shows how our team can deliver on an accelerated growth strategy. Adding Popeyes to the Tims China portfolio will deliver economies of scale and supply chain synergies for both brands, driving further growth for our company.”

Customers began arriving the night before the Shanghai store opening, with the line to be one of the first customers at the restaurant stretching for hundreds of meters. The brand set an opening day record of 1,761 orders, Lu said.

“Our high-traffic location in Shanghai and our sensational grand opening – featuring a jazz band and lots of Louisiana flavor – are already creating significant buzz around the brand, which will provide momentum for our upcoming expansion,” Lu said.

Despite a challenging overall macroeconomic environment, food service sales have been a bright spot in Chinas post-Covid recovery, according to Lu.

Popeyes offers a fried chicken recipe that “Chinese diners will love, and a brand identity based on Louisianas signature joie de vivre that will appeal to younger consumers increasingly seeking new dining experiences,” Lu said.

Tims China said its team has leveraged its “deep local expertise” in Chinas quick-service restaurant industry to adapt Popeyesmenus, restaurant design, and dining experience to the tastes of the Chinese consumer. The localized menu features options that blend Cajun traditions with local Chinese tastes, including sweet chili chicken, golden cheese and chicken nuggets, and a Longjing tea-based pomelo milkshake. It also features Popeyes' signature items, including New Orleans-style spicy chicken and Louisiana-style seafood such as Cajun popcorn shrimp.

Tims China did not respond to a request from SeafoodSource for additional comment.

Photo courtesy of Robert Way/Shutterstock


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500