Competition Heats Up: Who's Challenging Popeyes Chicken Sandwich?

Popeyes' arrival to the fried chicken sandwich game was a late one, but it has certainly made an impact. The runaway success of the sandwich has increased competition in the fast food market, with McDonald's, KFC, Wendy's and others launching their own chicken offerings. Despite Chick-fil-A dominating the market with more than 50% of the chicken sandwich market, Popeyes' sandwich has caused a stir. People are tweeting photos of long lines in Popeyes across the country, as well as their impressions of the sandwich. Justin Bieber wasn't impressed, but Black Twitter made memes, celebrities posted free of charge, talk show hosts joked and lines went around the block.

Popeyes saw their best sales in two decades (CNBC). The question is: how will the competition respond to Popeyes? With so many options available, it may not be necessary. Raising Cane's serves chicken strips and not much else, so their chicken sandwich is just a bun with a few tender ones. Zaxby's has a wide variety of chicken sandwiches, with their star product being the Chicken Finger Sandwich - which has Zaxby's exclusive chicken sticks, their famous Zax sauce, lettuce and tomato on a potato-flour bun. McDonald's fried chickens have a shiny bun and whole lettuce leaves. Popeyes' sandwich is marinated, burned and cooked sous vide style to “preserve flavor, tenderness and juiciness”.

The goal of their campaign was to increase publicity and sales around the sandwich. Weeks later, Popeyes Chicken Sandwich returned on National Sandwich Day (which was a Sunday when Chick-Fil-A was closed). Not everyone who introduced chicken sandwiches last year did well with them - Burger King had problems most of last year despite their new sandwich.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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