The Spicy Chicken Sandwich Wars Are Heating Up
This is a food category I think I can speak with some expertise on, because I consume a lot of chicken every week. And I am a fan of the Spicy Chicken sandwiches. And yes, I have tried every single one of them. Wendy's had the spicy chicken sandwich decades ago. Now every fast food chain has added this delicacy to their menu. Chick-fil-a claims they invented the fried chicken sandwich in the 1940s.
It was back on August 12, 2019, the date Popeye’s introduced their famous chicken sandwich, which really didn’t make any waves until Chick-fil-A posted on twitter they had the first fried chicken sandwich. Popeye's responded and the chicken sandwich wars were on. One week later cars were lined around all of the Popeye’s Chicken locations to get their chicken sandwich. Popeye’s sells out for the day on a regular basis, it’s increased their business by 38%.
Restaurant Business Online reports
It’s no surprise that other chicken concepts and quick-service chains wanted a piece of the action. Some already had fried chicken sandwiches on the menu but most were sorely in need of a refresh. Several brands had upgrades in the works prior to Popeyes' debut, but the Louisiana-inspired chain beat them to it. Still others saw big potential in the category and during the pandemic slowdown, tasked their culinary teams with developing a signature fried chicken sandwich that could rise above the rest.
The competition is robust, in the past 18 months at least 20 new chain entries have been competing for the best chicken sandwich. And now Popeye's is doing it again, adding another option for fried chicken sandwiches. They launched their Cajun flounder sandwich in February 2021, and now they are coming out with a new Blackened Chicken Sandwich in select markets. It, like the others, comes in both classic and spicy editions.
And yes, just like their other chicken sandwiches, it comes with pickles.
I’ve done a lot of research in this area, and after trying every brand offered in mid-Michigan, at least in the Spicy Fried Chicken category, my favorite is still Popeye's. I hate the long wait to get it, because the lines are still long. But once you have it in your hands, you are almost in heaven.
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