ATLANTA: Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, gearing up for new product and new restaurant concept introductions, has taken on its first PR agency, Melissa Libby & Associates.
The fried-chicken chain used Atlanta search firm Agency ID to find Libby, which won out over seven other firms considered, said Kelly Frommer, director of communications at Popeyes.
"They have a great reputation and a lot of contacts in the food industry, Frommer said in explaining why she selected Libby. The agency has worked for such clients as Krispy Kreme and Blockbuster Video, she added.
Frommer also liked the idea of working with an agency based in Atlanta, where Popeyes is headquartered. She expects to make use of PRConsultants Group, a network of agencies Libby belongs to, for assignments around the country.
Taking on a PR agency will enable the chain of 1,620 Popeyes to provide more local PR help to franchisees. "That's something we haven't been able to provide our franchise owners to the level we wanted in the past, she said.
To support the franchise network, a "System Support Center was opened in 1996 in order to provide franchisees with what the chain describes as "state-of-the-industry support for all their business needs.
Popeyes plans new product rollouts the rest of this year, along with monthly promotions in various markets that will require PR support. It's also looking at new restaurant concepts, although Frommer wouldn't specify what those were likely to be.
Libby will have four people on the account to begin with, but staffing levels will vary depending on projects underway, Frommer said.
Popeyes is a division of AFC Enterprises, which also operates and franchises Church's Chicken, Cinnabon, and Seattle's Best Coffee.
Popeyes operates in 42 states and 21 countries, and had 2001 sales of $1.3 billion.
Libby is a 10-year-old agency.