The opening of the first Popeyes in mainland China hasn’t been great for social distancing efforts in downtown Shanghai but at least there was no bloodshed.
On Friday morning, a line of customers stretched for more than 300 meters up Huaihai Road outside China’s flagship Popeyes location, prompting the Huangpu district government to send out a safety notice.
“We advise people to reasonably arrange their time, wear masks, and maintain social distancing, or else just choose another day to visit the restaurant,” read the notice.
Photos from outside the Popeyes show a dramatic lack of social distancing. It’s reported that more than 1,500 people stood in line, waiting for over three hours to get a chance to try the fast food chain’s famous Lousinaia fried chicken.
Here’s some videos of the crowds:
Customers were also brought in by the promise of opening day discounts and deals with all orders being granted a whopping 65 percent discount and the first 100 patrons receiving special gifts. A price limit was set at 100 yuan ($14) per order.
By the afternoon, the queue had significantly shorted. Police officers were called in to maintain the peace.
Popeyes has grand plans of becoming the next KFC, hoping to open 1,500 restaurants in the Chinese mainland over the next decade. The franchise first plans to expand in the Yangtze Delta River before hopping over to cities like Beijing and Chengdu.
It remains to be seen if the chain’s Cajun-flavored chicken and fixings will capture Chinese appetites like Kendeji has managed to. The food has inspired devotion elsewhere, though.
Most infamously, a man stabbed another man to death in Maryland for cutting in line outside of a Popeyes last summer on the day that the restaurant chain was re-releasing its chicken sandwich.
In case you also love that chicken from Popeyes, here’s the Shanghai address:566 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Chengdu Nan Lu 淮海中路566号, 近成都南路. For more info, check out the brand’s official WeChat account at PopeyesChina.