How Popeyes Connected with GenZers with TikTok’s “Girl Dinner” Trend

By Editorial Staff

Connecting with younger demographics and GenZers can be difficult in a vastly changing world. Younger people must constantly adapt to frequent news and viral trends to stay up to speed in a fast-paced society. However, if influencers need to stay relevant in a competitive economy, businesses must do the same! Earlier in the summer, Popeyes successfully connected with GenZers by creating a menu option to ride the wave of the girl dinner trend. 

Read ahead to learn about Popeyes’ viral impact and marketing success through their comical assortment of tasty side dishes and snacks.

What is the “Girl Dinner” Trend?

So, how did the trend come to fruition? Kickstarted by its creator, Oliva Maher (or @liviemaher on TikTok), the girl dinner trend went viral for the meal’s ambiguity. Every dinner acclimated to their favorite comfort snacks, so no “girl dinner” was the same. This participatory trend encouraged users to talk about their own dinner while creating funny clips and skits.


#girldinner #medievaltiktok

♬ original sound – Olivia Maher

Popeyes, who clearly read the assignment of the girl dinner trend, hopped abroad and created their new meal option. People loved the simplicity of the meal with Popeyes’s popular biscuits, macaroni, and cajun fries. Others jokingly commented on their revisions of Popeyes’s option. Regardless, social media posted about the girl dinner trend and Popeye’s success in attracting GenZ customers. Social media users savored the trend created while creators cooked up memorable videos. 


just popped off with a girl dinner 💅

♬ original sound – karma carr

Popeyes’s History of Connecting with Consumers

The IDK Meal for Indecisive Eaters

Unsurprisingly, Popeyes has had a history with creating satirical menu options like the “IDK Meal.” The IDK meal answered an age-old question hungry people ponder, “What should we eat?” The meal consisted of iced or frozen classic lemonade or strawberry lemonade with a classic or spicy chicken sandwich. Amy Alarcon, the Vice President of Culinary Innovation at Popeyes, said that the “meal was a fun one to test.” 

Remembered for its refreshing taste and savory chicken, the meal was a success. However, it wasn’t successful for its taste alone – it created a sense of camaraderie with indecisive customers. People, young and old, related to the indecisive conflict over daunting menus. And with even more daunting inflating prices of food, Popeyes stayed loyal to their inexpensive menu options and made the IDK meal $3.99!

Popeyes x Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce

If you love Megan Thee Stallion, you’ll definitely love Popeyes and Megan’s Hottie sauce! When Stallion signed a franchise development agreement with Popeyes, the parties co-created the hot sauce. The Hottie sauce helped create a spicy spinoff to Popeyes’s classic chicken sandwich with their limited edition collection of menu options! 

Fans of Stallion and Popeyes collectively ordered the limited-time meal and posted about it on social media. TikTokers reviewed the meal, stating that the sauce had a kick of heat with a balanced amount of sweetness.


Seasonal Limited-Time Meals and Deals

What always has people coming back to Popeyes is their limited-time and seasonal meals. Earlier this year, Popeyes added frosted strawberry biscuits to their menu – a perfect treat for early-morning sweet tooths. In August, Popeyes revealed their brand new sweet and spicy wings, which became Popeyes’s most popular menu item since 2019. These tastebud-tingling wings cater to sports fans who need the perfect meal for the football season. 

Another fan-favorite menu item, Popeyes’s ghost pepper wings, returned in early January, and Popeyes fans loved it. Back in 2019, massive fast-food chains competed to see who could make the best chicken sandwich, and Popeyes was a prime competitor. After four years, Popeyes released a new version of their sandwich: the blackened chicken sandwich, an antibiotic-free chicken marinated with cajun and creole spices.

Popeyes was so confident in their ability to create another sandwich that broke the internet that they expected competitors to steal their recipes! Overall, Popeyes has a history of creating memorable meals that captivate chicken lovers, so it’s no surprise that Popeyes was quick to hop onto the girl dinner trend and create a meal that everyone loves.

So, How Did Popeyes Do It?

One question remains: how did Popeyes do such a great job at utilizing this TikTok trend? Every social media marketer knows that the ebb and flow of social media is viral trends. While some trends become an integral part of social media culture, others become fads and die out. 

However, what makes the girl dinner trend untimely is its subjective interpretation; the trend allows everyone to participate while listing their ideal “girl dinners” while creating skits, challenges, filters, and memes for others to enjoy. Widely popular creators have posted skits on the untimeliness of the trend, some hinting that the trend will leave future generations in laughing fits.


my apologies to the staff in advance…. creds: @Olivia Maher #aged #fyp #girldinner #filter

♬ original sound – Becca Bastos

Popeyes Posted At the Perfect Time

Keeping up with viral trends isn’t easy. What drove Popeyes’s success is that they hopped onto the trend before users got bored of it. TikTok trends typically last between 3 to 5 days before they oversaturate Discovery and For You Pages, so businesses must post as early as possible to stand out! 

The girl dinner trend surpassed its expected falloff, yet creators and users still post and love the content the trend produces. However, what gave Popeyes an edge was that they created the meal announcement early on while the trend was at its peak interest.

The Trend Was Perfect for Popeyes’s Brand Image

Let’s admit it: some social media trends aren’t for everyone. Sometimes, it’s better for businesses not to engage in trends that don’t fit into their brand niche, as this may confuse their audience or make them feel out of place in their marketing endeavors. Thankfully, new trends are popping up every day, so there’s always a perfect trend waiting for businesses to utilize!

Because the girl dinner trend revolved around people’s favorite snacks and foods, Popeyes could easily market their popular foods in a new and engaging way. There are over 2,800 Popeyes restaurants across the United States, and considering how affordable Popeyes’s menu is, the girl dinner option is easily affordable and accessible. 

Girl Dinner Catered to Popeyes’s Targeted Audience

TikTok’s primary demographic is teenagers and young adults. Similarly, Popeyes is often a go-to place for younger people with tight budgets, swamped by the bustling life of early adulthood. Young people may not have time in their schedules to cook dinner, but they do have time to conveniently order food online. 

Referring back to Popeyes’s affordability, the girl dinner trend was a match made in heaven for Popeyes and their reputation for creating delicious food that appeals to both young and old food lovers. While Popeyes’s primary target for their girl dinner was younger audiences engaging in the trend, the impactful reach they engaged surely attracted plenty of older folks to give the meal a try.


@Popeyes is quick with it #girldinner

♬ original sound – karma carr

Key Takeaways

The creator economy heavily influences the success of businesses in their marketing goals. Likewise, reflecting on Popeyes’s success will help other brands better approach and utilize viral social media trends to maximize their reach. Here are a couple of takeaways for businesses interested in hopping on board these creative trends:

  • Before you begin brainstorming, clearly define your brand’s messages, target audience, and marketing goals. 
  • Hop onto trends quickly and be prepared to adapt to the creator economy’s constant need for content. Timing is key, so always be ready to experiment and try new things.
  • Decide which trends to follow or skip. If your brand doesn’t mesh well with a trend, continue your research and find a trend you can incorporate into your marketing strategies.

Collaborate with influencers! Creators are the leaders of the creator economy, and partnerships are crucial for marketing success. When collaborating, be sure to properly compensate influencers and grant them creative freedom in their content.

Did you know that NeoReach runs world-class influencer marketing campaigns? Check out our case studies here!

This article was written by Brianna Borik

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