Popeyes Louisian Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI) reported delicious third-quarter results Wednesday after the market close, and gave investors every reason to come back for more by selectively increasing its full-year 2015 guidance. Let's take a deeper look at what Popeyes accomplished in Q3.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen results: The raw numbers


Q3 2015 Actuals

Q3 2014 Actuals

Growth (YOY)


 $61.1 million

 $54.9 million


Net Income

 $10.6 million

 $9.8 million


Earnings Per Share




Data source: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

What happened with Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen this quarter?

  • Global same-store sales rose 6%, driven by positive consumer response to menu innovation, effective advertising, and solid restaurant-level execution.
    • Domestic same-store sales climbed 5.6%, outpacing the chicken-QSR segment for 30 consecutive quarters and overall QSR for 16 quarters.
    • International same-store sales rose 9.1%.
  • For perspective, last month Yum! Brands reported its KFC chain saw same-store sales climb 3% globally.
  • Domestic market share of the chicken-QSR segment climbed to 26%, compared to 23.7% in the last year's third quarter.
  • Adjusted earnings were $0.47 per share, up 11.9% year over year.
  • Opened 47 new restaurants, including 24 domestic and 23 international.
  • Net restaurant openings came in at 39, bringing Popeyes' total operated and franchised locations to 2,475 at the end of the quarter.
  • Generated $14.3 million in free cash flow, bringing free cash flow through the first 40 weeks of this fiscal year to $45.6 million.
  • Company-owned restaurant operating profit of $4.9 million, or 19.3% of sales, up from $4.4 million in last year's third quarter, but also down as a percentage of sales from 19.6% last year. However, this isn't indicative of the company's broader performance: Improved food, beverage, and packing operations were offset by a $0.2 million out-of-period adjustment to rent expenses.
  • Repurchased 339,573 shares of common stock for $19 million, or an average price of $55.95 per share.
  • Popeyes' board approved a new $200 million repurchase authorization to replace its existing authorization.

What management had to say 
As Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder said:

We are pleased to report another quarter of strong sales and earnings. [...] Going forward, increasing cash flows give us the opportunity to invest in key organic growth strategies, including people initiatives, technology and international expansion. We believe the execution of these strategies will help ensure strong, sustainable financial performance for all of our stakeholders.

Looking forward 
For the full fiscal year 2015, Popeyes management reiterated its goals for new restaurant openings of 200 to 225 (85 to 95 of which will be located in international markets). Net restaurant openings are also still planed to be in the range of 115 to 150, representing roughly 5% system growth over 2014.

At the same time, Popeyes adjusted the remaining ranges of its outlook for the better, calling for same-store sales growth of 5% to 5.5% (up from 4.5% to 5.5% previously), general and administrative expenses at roughly 2.8% of systemwide sales (down from 2.9% previously), adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.86 to $1.91 (up from $1.85 to $1.90 previously), and share repurchases of $55 million to $60 million (an increase of $5 million from both ends of the previous range).

All in all, this was another solid performance with no big surprises from Popeyes, as it continues to outgrow its peers and take market share in the process.