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Popeyes Offers Free ‘Tendies’ After Gamestop, AMC Stock Trading Madness

The fried chicken franchise is cashing in on headlines with a freebie for online orders.

Popeyes, the fried chicken franchise best known for its dominance in the Chicken Sandwich Wars, has thrown its support behind the Wall Street disruptors powering the wildest business news cycle of 2021 by offering free “tendies” to those who order online. 

"Wall Street has been turned upside down this past week when day traders found a way to outsmart the market," Popeyes told 1851 in an email.

"Tendies is the word retail traders on websites like Reddit use to describe money or financial gain – and in our world it’s also short for chicken tenders. After the events of this past week, Popeyes®, the beloved fried chicken brand, wants to support retail traders and believes they ALL deserve tendies," the email continued. 

The Stock Story of the Century

For those who missed the news as it broke, an all-out war broke out on the stock exchange between hedge funds and a new class of retail investors empowered by easy-to-use trading apps like Robinhood and recent influxes of COVID-19 stimulus cash

The retail investors, who mostly identify as members of a Reddit community, r/WallStreetBets, soundly defeated the seasoned pros in the first salvo of the battle. 

Hedge funders, acting on experience and a solid grip of market fundamentals, saw companies like Gamestop, a brick-and-mortar video game retailer usually found in malls, and AMC, a movie theater chain, hovering around bankruptcy as the pandemic caused lockdowns, business restrictions and a shift to e-commerce venues for both video games and movies. In what is standard operating procedure for hedge funders, these investors shorted the stock, essentially betting it would go down to zero. 

Unfortunately for them, the retail investors at r/WallStreetBets are huge video game and movie nerds. 

They bought shares of GameStop, AMC, and dying phone makers Blackberry and Nokia en masse, causing the price to jump. Not only did the hedge funders lose their bet that these shares would tank, they ended up having to buy the shares themselves to stop their losses as the prices for their shorts spiked. 

The result wasn’t pretty. It was a bloodbath that Goldman Sachs called “the largest active hedge fund deleveraging event since February 2009.” Hedge funders lost a ton of money, a few scrappy retail investors won big, and most traders who just piled on for fun probably lost money too as the sky-high shares crashed back down to earth.

Popeyes' Pitch

In the GameStop saga, David beat Goliath soundly. For Popeyes, this story proved too good to pass up. 

By tapping a “tendies” tile on the Popeyes app and entering as a promo code $GME, $AMC, $BB or $NOK, the ticker symbols for the “meme stocks” hedge funds got whooped on, customers can get a free 3 piece order of chicken tenders with a minimum order of $5. 

"Popeyes is taking the side of the people and hopes that by supporting the online community, it will inspire others to take a stand," the brand wrote. 

Popeyes isn’t the first fast-food franchise to position itself against the “elites,” and doesn’t seem to mind rubbing salt in the wounds of hedge funders. But as the worlds of retail and investment collide, expect to see more battles play out in the stock market, and more fast-food promotions trying to cash in on major news stories.