In 2017, Restaurant Brands International - which also owns Tim Hortons and Burger King - added
Popeyes to their roster.
And the announcement sent social media into a tailspin, with everyone wondering whether
or not their beloved chicken was changing forever.
But how much do fans really know about Popeyes chicken?
Turns out there's more to this chain than a whole lotta Louisiana lovin'.
Here's the untold truth of Popeyes!
"Did you eat all of my samples?"
"Yes you did."
OK, not that Popeye
The name "Popeye" might conjure up images of spinach-fueled, cartoon muscles, but that's
not the guy the chain was named after.
In 1972, the restaurant got its name from detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French
"Alright, Popeye's here!
Get your hands on your heads, get off the bar, and get on the wall!"
But that wasn't the restaurant's original name, either.
Alvin C. Copeland Senior opened the first location under the name Chicken on the Run.
A few months later, after replacing his traditional chicken with a spicy version, he re-opened
Buying back the recipes
Many big-name brands have signature recipes, but Popeyes didn't actually own their secret
chicken recipes until 2014.
When Copeland passed away in 2008, Slate reported those proprietary Popeyes recipes became part
of his estate - with Popeyes forking over $3.1 million a year in royalties.
It wasn't until 2014 that the company paid Copeland's estate a whopping $43 million for
full rights to the recipes.
The thing about those chickens
According to Popeyes, the restaurant only sources chickens from suppliers who abide
by guidelines established by the National Chicken Council.
But not everyone is happy with Popeyes' procedures.
In 2018, animal welfare group, Compassion in World Farming, claimed that Popeyes hadn't
been sourcing chickens, cruelty-free.
The group said they wanted Popeyes to switch to sourcing only chickens raised in healthy,
comfortable situations - a promise they said Popeyes refused to make.
An online petition has garnered over 150,000 signatures, but Popeyes has yet to respond
to the protest.
An anti-antibiotic pledge
Watt AgNet reported in 2016 that some fast food chains had pledged to phase out meat
from suppliers that used antibiotics as a growth promoter.
And among the first to step up to the plate were Chick-fil-A, Papa John's Pizza, and Panera
Not making the list?
It wasn't until mid-2017 that Popeyes pledged to be antibiotic free by 2018.
But as of September 2017, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Popeyes
shareholders were still in the process of petitioning the company to make good on their
You're suing for what?
In November 2016, Mississippi attorney Paul Newton Junior sued Popeyes after allegedly
choking on a piece of chicken because it didn't come with a plastic knife.
According to Fortune, Newton said he even had to undergo emergency surgery to remove
a piece of chicken from his throat.
But The Huffington Post reported he dropped the suit because of "extreme" comments on
social media...liiiiike, whether he had ever eaten chicken - or anything - before, in his
Then, in 2017, a Texas woman filed a lawsuit claiming Popeyes food had poisoned her with
Karen Goode wanted $1 million in damages, but according to The Washington Post, Gwen
Pearson - of Purdue's entomology department - said of the claim,
"Nothing about this, biologically, is sound."
That secret spice
Ask any die-hard fan what makes Popeyes so good, and they'll probably say it's that spicy
kick in the seasoning.
Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipes Unlocked says he's hacked the mystery ingredients of
the Cajun Sparkle Seasoning mix, and claims it's all about that MSG.
Oh, and salt, black pepper, onion powder, dried sage, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
But to really nail that signature blend?
Just go straight to the source!
Thanks for watching!
Click the Mashed icon to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Plus, check out this other cool stuff we know you'll love too!