7 Reasons Popeyes Is Totally Overpriced

NEWS & TRENDING - SHOPPING & DEALS NEWS
Winner winner chicken dinner? Think again.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Popeyes chicken fast food restaurant ottawa

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Chicken lovers across the country visit Popeyes for its chicken and signature biscuits. However, recently the chain has come under fire for what customers regard as ridiculously high prices. 

Several Popeyes menu items have increased by 70% or more, with some items near or over 100% increase in the last 10 years. 

If you have been doing a double-take when paying for your chicken and looking to keep more cash in your wallet, you’re not alone. Here’s why your chicken fix at Popeye’s is totally overpriced.

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Location

jetcityimage/Adobe Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Fast Food Restaurant

There are over 3,000 Popeyes restaurants across the country. Almost every state has at least one restaurant, but Texas is home to the most — over 400 in the Lone Star state.

Where your Popeye’s is located can have a lot to do with how much it charges. Popeye’s restaurants are franchises and may have the flexibility to charge based on location. 

If you're in a more affluent area, you may see higher prices because the restaurant can increase prices and still get customers through the door.

Taxes

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen toronto

While taxes may not impact the menu price, they can definitely affect the total amount you pay for your food. 

A few states have zero sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon), but the other 45 and the District of Columbia have sales taxes ranging from 4% to 7.25%.

Regional or limited availability items

Nik's Pics/Adobe Popeyes Chicken Dinner

Sometimes, restaurants (including Popeye’s) test out new or limited-edition products in certain regional markets. Because they are temporary items, they may cost more to source. 

They may also be conducting market research to determine what price points draw in more customers. Either way, special items may end up costing you more to try.

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Slowing sales

l_martinez/Adobe VALENCIA SPAIN Popeyes

During the summer of 2019, the popular “Chicken Wars” pitted various fast-food chains in a chicken sandwich competition. 

Popeyes quickly joined in and added a chicken sandwich to their menu on August 12, 2019. Its popularity increased sales for the fast food chain by 38% by the end of the year.

However, that popularity and market share have continued to shrink in the years since. While raising prices may seem counterintuitive, the chain may be increasing the cost of its menu items to combat the reduction in customers.

Inflation

Grand Warszawski/Adobe Warsaw Poland Popeyes

While inflation has cooled down in the last couple of years, 2022 saw a record high of 8.3%. Even though the inflation rate has slowed, it was still 3.4% in 2023. Rising costs of food, transportation, and labor can all impact the cost passed on to the customer.

Customers have even noticed that coupon values have changed from just a couple of years ago, and prices have almost doubled for some items. Complaints surround the fast food chain increasing costs to consumers because of corporate greed.

Food delivery app markup

jetcityimage/Adobe Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen billboard

Online orders from apps like Doordash, UberEats, GrubHub, and other food delivery services grew enormously during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the demand has cooled a bit since then, the convenience of having food delivered right to your door is hard to resist.

It’s no secret that these apps mark up their prices, but the percentage increase over in-store pricing can be almost 100% and sometimes more than that. If you order Popeye’s from a delivery app, you can almost guarantee it’s going to be overpriced.

Tuesday Special

Eduardo Barraza/Adobe Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant

Popeye’s has had a long-standing Tuesday Special. It’s often called the “two-piece Tuesday Special” with customers able to score two pieces of chicken (leg & thigh) for cheap. In 2017, the price was $1.49 and in 2023, the price had jumped to $2.99, depending on store location.

Because Popeye’s is a franchise, individual restaurateurs can decide whether or not to offer this special. It’s not available for online or in-app orders, and the price will vary by location.

Tuesdays are typically slow days for restaurants, so the stores offer a special to get people in the door, hoping they’ll buy more than just the discounted item. 

However, if your store offers this special, they are selling food below their typical costs — and have to make that margin up somewhere else.

Bottom line

jetcityimage/Adobe Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen booth

Popeyes' 2019 chicken sandwich launch was a massive success, but recent price hikes have some fans questioning their loyalty.

To avoid disappointment, it's best to check the price at your local Popeyes before you head out. Consider using a cash back credit card to save more on your favorite chicken sandwich.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.

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