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ATLANTA—AFC Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFCE), a franchisor and operator of 2,225 restaurants, announced today that it has changed its corporate name to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc..
As of January 21, 2014, all stock trading, filings and market related information will be reported under the new name Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. and the ticker symbol "PLKI." The company says that PLKI's primary objective is to deliver sales and profits by offering excellent investment opportunities, franchisee support systems and services to its franchise owners.
"The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen name has been used in our restaurants since 2008. This name is among the most visible expressions of our Louisiana heritage and differentiates Popeyes in the marketplace," said Cheryl Bachelder, Chief Executive Officer. "With this name change, we continue to leverage our brand identity and the strategy that has driven our industry-leading results."
Formed in 1992, AFC Enterprises at one time was a holding company to franchisors Seattle's Best Coffee, Cinnabon, Church's Chicken and Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits. In 2003 AFC Enterprises came under an accounting scandal shortly after the departure of Popeyes president Jon Luther. It subsequently sold off all of its brands except Popeye's.
In 2007 Ms. Bachelder was appointed the new CEO of a troubled Popeyes. The company focused on franchisee profits, changed its name from Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, in which consumers sometimes related it with the spinach-eating Popeye cartoon, to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Its advertising message of Louisiana cuisine from spokesperson Annie has resonated with consumers. The chain has since become the second largest quick service restaurant chicken concept based on number of units. The company revealed at last week's ICR Xchange investor's conference that it had significantly grown market share in the chicken quick service restaurant (C-QSR) arena from 15.8 percent to 20.8 percent (see chart by Popeye's). It has had 23 consecutive quarters in which it has out-performed the C-QSR category and 9 months of outperforming the QSR sector.