If you recently started drooling after coming across an Instagram account that claimed a Montreal Popeyes was soon coming to fruition, I'm sorry to break your heart. The account, which was claiming a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen would soon be opening in Laval, QC, was quickly terminated after Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI) became aware of the illegitimate account.
The Instagram account had been posting pictures and Instagram Stories under the unverified @popeyesmontreal handle.
The first indicator that something was up was the fact that the official (though, also unverified) @popeyesca had not shared the good news to its page.
There are a couple other seemingly illegitimate Popeyes accounts on Instagram, but they are clearly inactive and have a small number of followers.
The @popeyesmontreal account, however, quickly racked up over 3,000 followers with one promise...
At 5,000 followers, the much-sought-after and oft-dreamt-of Montreal location of Popeyes Louisana Kitchen would finally be revealed.
Alas, dear reader, my fellow chicken lover, here is where it all went south. As south as Louisiana itself.
Not only did the account lie about delivering on the location, they even went so far as to promise a free meal on the opening day to one of the newly acquired Instagram followers.
The screengrab above shows one of the posts made to the Instagram feed encouraging users to share the post on their stories for the chance to win a free meal.
I can't deny, the time and effort put into creating these graphics is no small feat. Such dedication. Such determination.
So I almost feel bad that I may have inadvertently ruined the whole scheme.
The promise of the location only at a certain follower threshold was a real red flag, so I contacted RBI Inc. to verify the validity of the account.
RBI let me know that the Instagram was "not a legitimate Popeyes account. It was flagged to the platform earlier this week and has since been removed."
Then, more bad news.
The media team at Popeyes broke it to me plain and simple:
"We are always looking for new markets to expand to, but have no plans to expand to the Montreal market at this time."
Sorry fellow chicken lover. Today is not our day.
The Instagram account was likely attempting to accrue a certain number of Instagram followers before changing the handle and selling it online.
There is no question that having an audience on Instagram is a lucrative thing, and because of that, there is no shortage of scamming on Instagram.
I'm just sorry we were caught in the crosshairs.
And if a Popeyes location does ever actually come to the Montreal area... we'll let you know.