The Chicken Wars: How Chicken Sandwiches Took Over The Fast Food World

Michael Reiner
3 min readNov 14, 2019

Chicken sandwiches have been a part of fast food restaurant menus for quite some time. The mouths of millions of Americans water at the site of a piece of buttermilk chicken placed between a flavorful bun. However, the shortage of a particular chicken sandwich caused a Twitter dispute between fast food franchises that had not been seen before.

The war started this past August when Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen implemented their new fried chicken sandwich to their menu. Fast food consumers were in a frenzy, so much so that chicken stalwart Chick-fil-A decided to tweet an appreciation post about their sandwich. Popeye’s had a charismatic response of “… y’all good”? on Twitter and the two fast food chains trash talked one another. Wendy’s even decided to get involved by tweeting a photo of their original spicy chicken sandwich with the phrase “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.”

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On August 27, Popeye’s announced on Twitter that they were all out of chicken sandwiches. Popeye’s was without chicken sandwiches until its return on Sunday, November 3. Micheline Maynard of Forbes reported that traffic at Popeye’s on that Sunday was 300% above the normal baseline. Several customers have gone crazy over the sandwich and they have committed federal crimes. The outrageous sales indicate that the item will always be a part of their menu.

The Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich was the original item on their menu when the franchise first opened in 1967. Their boneless chicken breast is cooked in peanut oil and topped with pickle spears. The 2019 revenue of Chick-fil-A is estimated at $9.6 billion. Chick-fil-A has since implemented their own version of chicken mac & cheese as a response to their competitors.

Wendy’s crispy spicy chicken sandwich is very unique in its own right. The sandwich is only 500 calories with 19 grams of fat. All of their chicken sandwiches that are not on their dollar menu could be made spicy. The success of the sandwiches eventually inspired the spicy bacon jalapeno chicken sandwich that was released this past winter.

Infographic Credit: Michael Reiner

McDonald’s is even experimenting with having chicken in breakfast items. Scott Mautz reported that McDonald’s could release McChicken McMuffins, McChicken Griddles, and McChicken Biscuits in January 2020. This could be the first time that McDonald’s will be serving chicken breakfast items nationwide since the Southern Style Chicken was discontinued in 2015.

The future sales of chicken sandwiches can be just as satisfying as the taste of the sandwiches.