First look inside chicken restaurant chain Popeyes ahead of huge opening at the Metrocentre - and here's how to get free chicken

The popular American fast food chain Popeyes is set to open its fourth UK eat-in restaurant in the North East.

The fried chicken restaurant, which launched in 1972 in New Orleans, is set to welcome customers from 11am on Saturday, August 20 to its brand new Popeyes store in the Metrocente.

The North East branch will be the fourth eat-in restaurant across the UK, and the first outside of London – and the eatery is expecting to see the same huge queues as previous openings.

Following its successful UK launch in November 2021 with stores in Romford, Chelmsford and Stratford, the Gateshead site is set to be the biggest, with seating for 100 people.

Popeyes opens at the Metrocentre this Saturday, August 20.

As part of the opening, which will be located in the Metro Qube, downstairs Yellow Mall, the restaurant is offering free chicken to the first 50 customers as well as merchandise bags while the first three people will have a chance to win free chicken sandwiches for the next year.

In addition the US eatery will play host to live music, and children's entertainment including face painting.

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Neil Williamson, Popeyes’ UK Chief Operating Officer said: “I’m back in my hometown, I’m originally from Newcastle so it’s really exciting to be bringing Popeyes to the North East.

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The first 50 customers will be able to get their hands on free chicken.

"I can’t wait to get the ball rolling, to get the party started. We envision the queue starting from around 9am, and we’re obviously a little bit different, we’re bright, we’re colourful, fun so it only goes to say that we’re going to have some surprises in store for our guests.

"I would advise people to get here early to join in the fun!”

Customers will be able to try Popeyes’ signature dishes including the Chicken Sandwich and American biscuits.

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With trainer Nicole Cockburn on hand to lead its 100 new employees, the aim for staff members is to complete a chicken sandwich in less than 60 seconds.

The restaurant is expecting huge queues on opening day.

After being marinated for 12 hours, flattened by hand, tossed 20 times in breadcrumbs before being placed in batter and fried, the chicken is finally ready for a "shatter-crunch" bite.

Neil added: “We’ve got a menu that is quite diverse, some products that you’ve probably never seen in a fast food outlet in the UK but I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy everything you try.”

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Popeyes North East can seat up to 100 people.
Customers will be able to try the signature Popeyes chicken sandwich.