Cheryl Bachelder
CEO of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen Inc.

Non-Exclusive Speaker

  • Cheryl Bachelder is the CEO of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen Inc., a multibillion-dollar chain of more than 2,200 restaurants around the world.​
  • Since 2007, she has led a remarkable turnaround of the company’s financial results with a compelling strategic roadmap for growth and an inspiring purpose and set of principles.
  • She has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and was recently named by CNBC’s Jim Cramer as one of his “21 Bankable CEOs” for 2014. In 2012, she was recognized as Leader of the Year by the Women’s Foodservice Forum and received the industry’s highest award, the Silver Plate Award, from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.
  • She has more than 35 years of experience in leadership at companies like Yum Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, The Gillette Company and The Procter & Gamble Company.​
  • Her keynote speeches and her book Dare to Serve show that servant leadership is challenging and tough minded—a daring path. She takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes® and shows how a leader at any level can become a Dare-To-Serve leader.

 


  • My purpose is: Develop purpose-driven leaders who exhibit competence and character in all aspects of their lives.

    Cheryl A. Bachelder is a passionate restaurant industry executive serving as the CEO Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Cheryl is known for her crisp strategic thinking, franchisee-focused approach, superior financial performance and the development of outstanding leaders and teams.

    Cheryl joined Popeyes, Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. in November 2007 after serving as an active member of the Board for a year. She brings more than 35 years of experience in brand building, operations and public-company management at companies like Yum Brands, Domino’s Pizza, RJR Nabisco, The Gillette Company and The Procter & Gamble Company.

    At Popeyes, Cheryl promptly established a Road Map for Results that focused on four key tenets of growing a restaurant chain: build a distinctive brand, run great restaurants, grow restaurant profits and ramp up new unit growth. This strategic framework led to market share gains of six points, improved guest ratings and increased restaurant margins (400 basis points in five years). The improvement in restaurant performance has led franchisees to remodel the system and accelerate new unit growth both in the U.S. and abroad. In the last six years the enterprise market cap has grown from $300 million to over $1 billion.  At fiscal year-end 2013 Popeyes system-wide revenues were $2.4 billion. These revenues are generated by over 2,248 restaurants operated by 338 franchisees and more than 60,000 restaurant employees in the United States, three territories and 27 foreign countries.

    Ms. Bachelder has created a culture based on the Popeyes Purpose: to inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results.  This purpose is expressed in the six principles of how we work together. The Popeyes team focus is to serve the franchise owners well; together we pursuing a bold ambition for the enterprise. This has produced exceptional performance results. In March 2015, Ms. Bachelder will publish a book chronicling the tenets of the Popeyes turnaround, entitled Dare to Serve – How to drive superior results by serving others.

    Ms. Bachelder has served as a member of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.’s Board of Directors since November 2006 and also serves on the Board of Directors for Pier 1 Imports, Inc. since 2012; the advisory board of Agile Pursuits Franchising, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, since 2009; and International Franchise Association effective February 2015. She served on the Board of Directors for True Value Company from 2007 – 2012 and on the Board of the National Restaurant Association May 2009 – 2012. In November 2014, Cheryl was certified as an NACD Board Leadership Fellow.

    Prior to serving as Popeyes CEO, Ms. Bachelder has revitalized brand performance in both retail and consumer goods companies.  She was president and chief concept officer for KFC Corporate (2001-2003) creating growth plans for the U.S. business in collaboration with the franchise owners.

    From 1995 to 2000, Ms. Bachelder served as vice president of marketing and product development for Domino’s Pizza, Inc.  She was the brand architect responsible for contemporizing the restaurant chain’s image, and launching the innovative Heatwave bag which improved product quality and drove strong same-store sales growth for five consecutive years across 5,400 units.

    Prior to her restaurant experience, Ms. Bachelder served as general manager of the LifeSavers Division of RJR Nabisco.  Her early career years included brand management roles at The Gillette Company and The Procter & Gamble Company.

    In 2012, Cheryl was recognized as Leader of the Year by the Women’s Foodservice Forum and received the highest industry award, the Silver Plate, for the quick service restaurant sector, presented by the International Food Manufacturer’s Association. Cheryl was also recognized as a 2012 Nation’s Restaurant News’ Golden Chain Award recipient. The Wall Street Journal recently featured a full page story on the Popeyes turnaround (March 10, 2014).

    Ms. Bachelder holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She is married thirty three years to Chris Bachelder and they have three grown daughters.



  • Dare to Serve 

    How can leaders get breakthrough results? Cheryl Bachelder tells how she and her team engineered the extraordinary turnaround of Popeye Louisiana Kitchen by making a tough but rewarding decision to lead through service.

    Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well.

    When Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, and the company stock price had dropped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.

    By 2014, average restaurant sales were up 25 percent, and profits were up 40 percent. Popeyes’ market share had grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, and the stock price was over $40. The franchisees were so pleased with the turnaround that they began reinvesting in the brand, rapidly remodeling restaurants, and building new units around the world.

    The difference maker, Bachelder says, was a conscious decision to lead in a new way. She and her team created a workplace where people were treated with respect and dignity yet challenged to perform at the highest level. Silos and self were set aside in favor of collaboration and team play. And the results were measured with rigor and discipline. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book shows that it’s actually challenging and tough minded—a daring path. Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how a leader at any level can become a Dare-to-Serve leader.





  • Dare to Serve 

    Cheryl Bachelder joined an ailing restaurant chain and turned it into the darling of the industry—by daring to serve the people in her organization well.

    When Bachelder was named CEO of Popeyes in the fall of 2007, guest visits had been declining for years, restaurant sales and profit trends were negative, and the company stock price had dropped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, and relations between the company and its franchise owners were strained.

    By 2014, average restaurant sales were up 25 percent, and profits were up 40 percent. Popeyes’ market share had grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, and the stock price was over $40. The franchisees were so pleased with the turnaround that they began reinvesting in the brand, rapidly remodeling restaurants, and building new units around the world.

    The difference maker, Bachelder says, was a conscious decision to lead in a new way. She and her team created a workplace where people were treated with respect and dignity yet challenged to perform at the highest level. Silos and self were set aside in favor of collaboration and team play. And the results were measured with rigor and discipline. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book shows that it’s actually challenging and tough minded—a daring path. Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how a leader at any level can become a Dare-to-Serve leader.

    Click Here to Purchase the Book

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