McDonald’s to rival Chick-fil-A, Popeyes in chicken sandwich wars

Jeanette Settembre

McDonald’s is pecking back at its rivals to establish itself as a contender in the chicken sandwich wars.

The fast-food giant is testing a crispy chicken sandwich in Houston, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee, as competitors like Popeyes and Chick-fil-A cash in on fried chicken sandwich sales.

The chain is testing out its Crispy Chicken Sandwich in the two Southern states beginning Monday through Jan. 26, a McDonald’s spokeswoman told FOX Business.

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich includes a fried chicken patty served on a sweet, buttery potato roll and topped with butter and crinkle-cut pickles, and a Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich version will feature lettuce, tomatoes and mayo.

“We certainly meant no beef when we hinted at a new menu item arriving in some of our restaurants. It’s true, we’re testing two new chicken sandwiches at participating restaurants in the Houston, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee, areas,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lauren Altmin told FOX Business, hinting that eaters everywhere might soon be getting a taste. “Everyone else should stay tuned for what’s to come in 2020.”

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is McDonald’s latest attempted at infiltrating the fried chicken sandwich market. It rolled out its Ultimate Chicken Sandwich at more than 100 locations across Washington state in 2018. Now, it’s competing with the likes of Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.


When Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich in August it became an instant hit, selling out in around two weeks and sparking a viral Twitter feud with rival Chick-fil-A. The sandwich garnered so much hype, Popeyes’ sales were 17 percent higher than average weeks after it sold out of the sandwiches, according to analytics firm Second Measure. As a response, McDonald’s franchise owners reportedly asked the chain in July to put out a chicken sandwich to rival competitors threatening sales growth.

And in August, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A was named America’s favorite fast-food restaurant beating out reigning burger champion In-N-Out for the top spot on Market Force’s Fast Food Market Research report, which surveys more than 7,000 customers. The findings show increasing consumer demand for fried chicken over beef. Indeed, Chick-fil-A beat out Burger King and Wendy’s in sales, ranking No. 5 behind giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks on QSR’s ranking of the top 50 fast-food chains in America for 2018.


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