Cheryl A. Bachelder is a passionate restaurant industry executive and former CEO of 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 brought 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. This strategic framework led to market share gains of eight points, improved guest ratings, and increased restaurant margins (400 basis points in seven years). The improvement in restaurant performance led franchisees to remodel the system and accelerate new unit growth both in the U.S. and abroad. In eight years, the enterprise market cap grew from less than $300 million to over $1.3 billion. At fiscal year-end 2015, Popeyes’ system-wide revenues were $3.1 billion. These revenues were generated by over 2,539 restaurants operated by 360 franchisees and more than 60,000 restaurant employees in the United States, three territories, and 27 foreign countries.
Ms. Bachelder created a culture based on the Popeyes Purpose: to inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results. This purpose was expressed in the six principles of how they worked together. The Popeyes team focus was to serve the franchise owners well; together they pursued a bold ambition for the enterprise. This produced exceptional performance results. In March 2015, Ms. Bachelder published a book chronicling the tenets of the Popeyes turnaround, entitled Dare to Serve, Second Edition – How to drive superior results by serving others.
Ms. Bachelder has served on the board of directors for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., since 2006; 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 the International Franchise Association since February 2015. She also 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 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 – 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 September 2015, Cheryl was awarded The Norman Brinker Award from Nation’s Restaurant News. She has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and was 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 Silver Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.
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 has been married for over 35 years to Chris Bachelder and they have three grown daughters.
When Cheryl Bachelder took the helm at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, sales and profits were declining and shareholders and franchisees were unhappy.
But during the nearly 10 years of Cheryl’s leadership, Popeyes stock moved from $11 in 2007 to a remarkable $79 at the time of its 2017 sale to Restaurant Brands International.
So what’s the secret ingredient to Popeyes turnaround? Cheryl joined us today to share how her unique strategy of servant leadership proved to be a recipe for success.
In 2007, when Cheryl Bachelder took over as CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., the company was a mess. Profits were down, stock prices were at an all-time low, and morale had hit rock bottom. She knew her only hope of turning things around was to create a culture of servant leadership. And she was right. By investing in her most valuable resource—her team members and franchisees—Cheryl helped Popeyes reach $3.1 billion in revenue by fiscal year-end 2015. Tune in as Cheryl details the six principles of servant leadership that she credits for that success. They may very well contribute to yours too.
We are all involved with leadership. From the White House to our house, leaders impact our lives. The boardroom is no different — you’re setting the tone for an entire organization.
What kind of a leader are YOU?
In today’s episode, we’ll unpack the power of servant leadership with Cheryl Bachelder, one of America’s top-performing CEO’s. Cheryl is also an incredibly successful board director! (So successful that she’s twice been asked by her fellow board members to step into the CEO role.)
“Servant leadership is the most aspirational thing you’ll ever try to do. If you think it’s easy to think about others over yourself, I’ve got news for you. You’re going to mess up every couple of hours.”
Embracing a mindset of serving others before ourselves seems easy on paper, yet those who try often learn that embracing these principles is no easy task. When we work toward listening before speaking, meeting our team where they are at, and constantly looking for who we should serve, the results speak for themselves.
“Success doesn’t teach you much, but a good failure will set you straight.” Cheryl Bachelder is the former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and serves on the boards of Chick-fil-A, US Foods, and Pier 1. During a decade leading Popeye’s, Cheryl revitalized Popeyes into one of America’s top fast-food brands – with more than 10 straight years of growth. She previously held executive-level positions at Domino’s and KFC. Cheryl started her career in a number of brand management positions at Nabisco, Gillette, and of course P&G. Cheryl shares her thoughts on servant leadership – which she literally wrote a book on: “Dare to Serve: How To Drive Superior Results While Serving Others.” Through deeply personal stories of work and family – Cheryl shares stories not just about winning – but the importance of learning from failures.
Serving others is more powerful than you think. In fact, it performs. Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., offers us proof in her book Dare To Serve, Second Edition. On this site, Cheryl continues the conversation to help you see how daring and serving creates the environment for superior performance. Explore the conversation and become a leader that leaves a legacy.