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This One Popeyes Menu Item Caused Major Confusion at First U.K. Restaurant Opening

The Brits are finally enjoying Louisiana-style chicken.

Popeyes opened its first U.K. restaurant last weekend, drawing in a crowd of hundreds eager for a taste of the chain's famous chicken sandwich. The true talk of the town, however, turned out to be a far humbler menu item—a side dish, in fact.

Popeyes' buttermilk biscuits got all of the attention on opening day at the chain's new East London location, with patrons unsure of what to make of the American fan-favorite, savory baked good. To Brits, a "biscuit" is a cookie, plain and simple. You can imagine their surprise, then, to find "biscuits" offered as a side to fried chicken.

RELATED: Popeyes Just Launched a New Item That's Sure to Become a Customer Favorite

The New York Times was on hand at the opening event to document the confusion. In addition to uncertainty over the product's name, attendees were also puzzled by the appearance of the buttermilk biscuits. At a glance, they resemble scones, popular in Britain and normally eaten with tea or a hot beverage, not a three-piece order of thighs and legs.

"It looks like a scone but it doesn't taste like one," remarked one customer, laconically, having sampled a Popeyes biscuit. Others were pleasantly surprised, with one customer finding the buttermilk biscuit "better than a scone," according to the Times.

On Twitter, Popeyes' famous side dish has already begun to attract attention among Londoners, with one user eagerly anticipating the chance to visit the new Popeyes location in order to "finally try whatever a…biscuit is," adding: "that sh** looks like a scone."

As it happens, Popeyes was anticipating the confusion, having conducted focus group tests prior to the London launch. As Tom Crowly, head of Popeyes UK, told the Times, participants in the groups were perplexed by the buttermilk biscuit. A common response seemed to go along the lines of "Why are you giving me a scone with chicken? I have no idea what you are doing."

Biscuit bewilderment notwithstanding, the chain made several crucial tweaks to its menu to cater to its British customers. Mindful of local tastes, Popeyes has added a red bean burger to its menu—a vegan option which, for the moment, is exclusive to the U.K. Additionally, the chain is serving halal chicken, catering to London's significant Muslim population.

However things pan out for Popeyes biscuits, the chain has big plans for operations in the European country. In addition to the recent East London opening, the Louisiana Kitchen intends to open another 10 to 15 London locations in the next year. While the Brits might take or leave the buttermilk biscuits, they are about to see a lot more of them.

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Owen Duff
Owen Duff is a freelance journalist based in Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s. Read more about Owen