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AFC Enterprises has named Kenneth L. Keymer, a 25-year restaurant industry veteran, as president of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, the world's second-largest chicken chain. Mr. Keymer replaces Dick Holbrook, AFC's president and chief operating officer, who had held the position on an interim basis since former chief Jon Luther left for Allied Domecq QSR about 18 months ago.
Keymer, age 56, will be responsible for leading day-to-day domestic and international operations for Popeyes. According to a statement released by AFK, Keymer will spearhead the Popeyes team in reengineering operations, enhancing franchise support systems, developing and implementing innovative menu solutions, and focusing on creative ways to maximize brand value.
Said Keymer, "In a sense, this is a homecoming for me as I worked at Popeyes earlier in my career. Popeyes was then and is now one of the most important and vital brands in our industry. The potential for expanding sales per unit and creating a contemporary brand for the future is exceptional."
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Keymer most recently served as president and co-CEO of Noodles & Company. From 1996 to 2002, he was president and COO at Sonic Corporation, and he has also held positions at Perkins Family Restaurants, Boston Chicken, and Taco Bell.
The appointment of a president at Popeyes comes at a time when AFC is moving toward selling off its other brands, including Cinnabon and Church's Chicken. It sold the North American operations of Seattle's Best Coffee earlier this year.