Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, a division of AFC Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFCE), announced the recipients of its franchise awards at its annual International Franchise Conference, held in Scottsdale, Arizona. During the meeting, the company awarded its 2008 Gold Plate Awards as well as the Franchisee, Operator, Developer, and Marketer of the Year awards.

“Each year, we have the opportunity to recognize the Popeyes restaurants that have achieved exceptional results, while providing quality products and friendly service to our customers,” says Cheryl Bachelder, president and CEO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. “I’m honored to acknowledge this year’s award recipients and to have the opportunity to personally thank each of them for their accomplishments in strengthening our brand.”

Popeyes awarded the 2008 Gold Plate Awards to POP Investments, L.P., in Mesquite, Texas, owned and operated by Guillermo Perales, and to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s (AAFES) restaurant at Schofield Barracks in Schofield, Hawaii. This award recognizes the best domestic and international restaurants in the system that provide consistent, quality products with fast, friendly and accurate service. These restaurants, which are shining examples of operational excellence, are evaluated on sales performance, overall execution of the Popeyes concept, and leadership as demonstrated by the restaurant manager and their team.

“We’re excited to honor the teams at POP Investments and AAFES with the 2008 Gold Plate Award, based on the overall performance of the restaurants,” said Bachelder. “The teams at these restaurants were focused and dedicated to providing each customer with the highest quality products and level of service. This award highlights the leadership of the management teams and the dedication of each team member in representing the brand and making their restaurants the best of the best.”

Popeyes also presented the Franchisee of the Year award to Richpop, LLC in Richmond, Virginia, owned and operated by John Laylock, Pedro Lujan, and Joseph Salta. Popeyes presents this award to franchisees that distinguish themselves through outstanding performance in the disciplines of operations, development, marketing, commitment, and support of the brand.

“Richpop, LLC has distinguished itself through outstanding performance across all business areas as well as consistent support of and commitment to the Popeyes brand and system at all levels,” said Bachelder. “It takes a great deal of hard work, dedication, leadership and team effort to receive this award and this franchisee has consistently delivered on all of those principles. I congratulate them on this honor.”

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) was honored with the Popeyes Operator of the Year award. This award recognizes the Popeyes franchisee that has distinguished themselves as an outstanding operator by consistently exceeding the system’s goals for quality, service, commitment and collaboration.

“It is truly an honor to present AAFES with the Operator of the Year award, for their continued excellence and role in bringing the great taste of Popeyes to our troops,” Bachelder says. “This group is an all-around team player, successful in all of its operations regardless of challenges, such as operating in sensitive areas like Iraq or working in extremely tight quarters often the size of trailers. Despite this, AAFES continues to provide the best service to our troops while seeking new opportunities to bring additional restaurants to these areas.”

The Developer of the Year award was presented to John Brodersen of Brodersen Enterprise of Puerto Rico, Inc. This award recognizes the Popeyes franchise operator who has shown excellence as a dedicated and active restaurant developer while epitomizing the system’s commitment to design, construction and re-imaging.

“In three short years, Brodersen Enterprise of Puerto Rico, Inc. has opened six restaurants–all of which continue to grow steadily within their market. I’m privileged to present John Brodersen with the Developer of the Year award,” Bachelder says. “With his knowledge and insight, he has successfully identified key areas for development of new restaurants to expand and grow the Popeyes brand.”

Also at the conference, Popeyes recognized Meridian, Mississippi, residents, Cary and Faith Vaughn of Vaughn’s, Inc as the 2008 Marketer of the Year. The company presents this award to franchisees that distinguish themselves as dedicated and active restaurant marketers. Those receiving this award have shown significant skill and commitment to identifying local marketing opportunities to build sales and strengthen the brand, as well as protect the brand’s equity.”

“We are thrilled to honor Cary and Faith Vaughn as our 2008 Marketers of the Year, based on their local store marketing initiatives and their involvement in creating community partnerships to better promote our brand,” said Bachelder. “Clearly, the Vaughns have distinguished themselves as dedicated and active restaurant marketers and are well deserving of this award.”

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