The Rise of the Chicken Sandwich: Who Started the Trend?

The chicken sandwich has become a staple of the American fast food industry, with more than 20 brands adding fried chicken sandwiches to their menus in the past two years. The trend is being driven by younger generations, who view chicken sandwiches as a healthier and more sustainable option. The best chicken sandwich in KFC history and Burger King's hand-breaded crispy chicken sandwich have also followed a similar pattern, with colors ranging from yellow to pink and black popping up on menus. McDonald's is also getting in on the action with its ChknDrop campaign, selling early and exclusive access to its new sandwiches.

Spicy Fi'ed Chicken Sandwich is made with American Humane Certified cage-free chicken, sourced from Springer Mountain Farms and raised without hormones or antibiotics. Many breaded chicken sandwiches include mayonnaise or an exclusive “secret” sauce to intrigue customers. When asked to recall brands that offer chicken sandwiches and report on the sandwiches they like best, respondents chose Chick-fil-A. Popeyes then released its now famous fried chicken sandwich, which went unnoticed until rival Chick-fil-A took to Twitter to promote it as the original.

In addition to the spicy touch, sauces such as teriyaki and soy garlic are also causing a sensation in the chicken sandwich world. Foodservice operators continue to enter the market with their version of the “best chicken sandwich”. The chain's new Chicken Sandwich includes a 4 oz. honey-dipped, battered white chicken fillet topped with dill pickles and chipotle ranch dressing, served on a warm brioche roll.

The most recent restaurant to enter a contender is McDonald's, which will launch a trio of new chicken sandwiches starting in February.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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