NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Atlanta-based company that franchises Popeyes fried chicken restaurants has purchased the recipes for many of its dishes for $43 million from a Louisiana-based seasoning company owned by the estate of Popeyes' founder.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. said in a statement that the deal eliminates the $3.1 million annual royalty the company was previously scheduled to pay Diversified Foods and Seasonings until 2029.
Al Copeland Sr. founded what became the Popeyes chain in 1972 in a New Orleans suburb. He lost the company in a 1990s bankruptcy case after his ill-fated acquisition of the competing Church's chicken chain in 1989.
However, he retained the exclusive contract to supply spices to Popeyes through Diversified Foods and Seasonings. Copeland family businesses also include casual dining restaurants in the Southeast.
Copeland died in 2008.
"With the cooperation of the Copeland family, this transaction now brings important intellectual property — Popeyes' core recipes — under brand ownership for the first time in our company's history," Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder said Monday evening in the news release.
Diversified Foods and Seasonings, based in Madisonville, will continue to supply Popeyes with products.
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