The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Headed To Italy

Popeyes is expanding its international footprint with new Italian locations.

If there's one universal truth, it's that everyone, everywhere, loves fried chicken. And it looks as though another European country is about to get a taste of our American version: Popeyes' parent company, Restaurant Brands International, has released an announcement stating that it will open its first location in Italy later this year.

"We're very excited about growing the brand in Italy with RB [Restaurant Brands] Iberia, a long-term partner and strong operator," said David Shear, president of the international division of Restaurant Brands International, in the announcement. RB Iberia also manages Burger King Spain, Burger King Portugal, Popeyes Spain, and Tim Hortons Spain.

Popeyes already has locations in these European countries

Popeyes has more than 4,300 locations in 35 countries. Within Europe, it already has a presence in the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Romania, with its most recent forays being into Poland and the Czech Republic.

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As with international McDonald's locations, the Popeyes menu does vary by country. For example, along with the standard bone-in fried chicken, Popeyes Spain menu features grilled chicken sandwiches, At Popeyes Poland, fried chicken sandwiches have variations with coleslaw on them, and Popeyes France even sells a veggie burger made of kidney beans. I did notice that none of the European countries have my beloved red beans and rice side dish, however.

What sort of menu items will Italians get that we don't? We'll just have to see when the first Italian Popeyes opens up (location TBD) later this year. I kind of doubt we'll see tomato sauce and mozzarella on a sandwich there, but it's easy to see how Popeyes might do a fun spin on arancini. Who knows how the Italian public might react to that.

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Italy already has American fried chicken chains

Popeyes isn't exactly breaking new ground by expanding into Italy. KFC already has a presence in the country, where its menu is somewhat similar to our American one: bone-in chicken, tenders, wings, and a small selection of sides. It first opened in Italy all the way back in the 1970's, but quickly shut down. It took until 2014 for KFC to reenter the market.

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But hey, fried chicken is a universal language. Almost every culture in the world has its own version, as there's just something about deep-fried poultry that we can all get behind. Italians are about to experience the Louisiana-inspired version, and we hope they love that chicken from Popeyes.

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