Remember the great chicken sandwich battles of 2019 that gave Restaurant Brands International Inc (NYSE: QSR) and its Popeyes chain a near-term boost? The momentum continues nearly a full year after the launch, according to Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil.
What Happened: Popeyes first launched its chicken sandwich in August 2019, and remains a "big part of our menu" and a key part of Restaurant Brands' international growth plans, Cil said Monday on CNBC's "Mad Money."
The chicken sandwich helped spur repeat customer visits from people who love it and wanted to try something else on the menu, he said.
"They're now experimenting and exploring the entire menu: desserts and side items and beverages, as well as bone-in chicken and the sandwich, and we're seeing the entire business grow," Cil said. "It's been fun to watch."
Why It's Important: Same-store sales at Popeyes stores were up more than 40% in the final week of May despite very few locations operating with their dining rooms open, the CEO said.
"I've been in the business 20 years [and have] never seen anything like it."
What's Next: The Popeyes momentum represents an opportunity for the restaurant chain to continue growing, better connect with customers and capitalize on the "tremendous opportunity for growth" the brand can offer in the U.S. and internationally, Cil said.
QSR shares were down 1.67% at $54.30 at the time of publication Tuesday.
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