Popeyes sat back and watched competitors try to recreate the astronomical success of a piece of fried chicken dubbed a brioche bun with two pickles after launching the chicken sandwich scam in 2019.
While chains like KFC (YUM) - Get Yum! Brands, Inc. Report,Chick-Fil-A, and Taco Belland Panera Breadstarted launching and promoting their own versions, few were able to outdo Popeyes'' success.
Employees at Popeyes'' peak were hand-written "no more sandwich" signs to dispel customers who shopped around the street for one. Three years later, many consumers still associate the term "chicken sandwich" with Popeyes, according to the Quality Assurance Network.
A Legendary Chicken Sandwich Is Going To Be An Upgrade
Popeyes didn''t feel the need to alter or expand its chicken sandwich offering for a long time. It sat quietly back and watched competitors scratch their heads over what the benefits of fried chicken on bread might cause such a frenzy.
On Tuesday, the fast-food chain launched the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich as part of a limited-time offer. Instead of the original''s spicy mayo sauce, the new version features a buttermilk ranch and an azesty buffalo sauce.
"Two years ago, our Chicken Sandwich reintroduced the world to our chicken mastery, and we haven''t stopped innovating since," says Popeyes North America''s president. "We have a lot of fun experimenting with new flavors in our test kitchen, and this Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich is one I''m especially happy to introduce to our guests."
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While the rest of the ingredients are identical, the exclusiveity of the new sauce will cost visitors additional. The Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich will cost $4.99 instead of $3.99 commanded by the original, according to the chain. It''s probable that how consumers take the sandwich to it will impact whether it will be available for the whole time menu.
Popeyes will also be popping up in several locations on the day of the launch, including Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, where sandwiches are being distributed to unassuming passersby.
Will This Sandwich Fall in the Same Craze?(Unlikely)
Frenzies like 2019''s chicken sandwich craze are often a flash-in-the-pan breakthrough for fast-food businesses, as something else inevitably arises to attract customers.
While this craze lasted longer than many, the new product appears to be a resurgence of its potential to be just another menu item as demand falls (everyone who wanted to try that chicken sandwich has already done so) and competitors have issued their own versions.
"Chicken sandwich volumes are still under pressure by competitors who [...] began making their sandwich debuts in early 2021," said Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil during an analyst call in February.
Popeyes, however, has continued its expansion in an unprecedented fashion: 208 locations across the United States and Canada for a total of 3,600 stores in 2021, and plans to open 200 more stores in North America and new markets like South Korea, France, India, and Romania in 2022.
It also opened a flagship location at 1530 Broadway, a Times Square store with self-serve kiosks, a food transporting machine for diners on the second floor, and a swag and merchandise store.