For the past two years, KFC and Popeyes have gone head-to-head in the chicken sandwich war.
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Executives from the Louisville, Ky.-based fast food chain told the outlet that customers are flocking to its stores to buy the latest iteration of the chicken sandwich, which was released in late February and features an extra crispy filet with pickles and mayonnaise on a brioche-style bun.
“In fact, as we’ve entered [the second quarter], demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening of domestic chicken supply, our main challenge has been keeping up with that demand,” David Gibbs, CEO of KFC’s parent company Yum Brands, told analysts during a call.
The company’s first-quarter financial results revealed that KFC’s same-store sales grew by 8%, thanks, in part, to the new chicken sandwich.
KFC and Popeyes, two of the most successful fried chicken franchises in the U.S., have competed intensely since Popeyes introduced its own version of the fried chicken sandwich in August 2019. Within two weeks of its release, the sandwich sold out, according to Business Insider. A number of Popeyes employees also reportedly worked 60 hours per week to fill orders.
Since then, a number of fast food chains, including McDonald’s, have followed suit. Around the same time KFC released its new chicken sandwich, McDonald’s also launched its Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Per CNBC, the latter has been a hit among customers as well, inadvertently causing a tight chicken supply.