What is the future of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich?

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What is the future of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
Popeyes Chicken Sandwich - Credit: Popeyes Chicken via Twitter

The chicken sensation that impacted communities across the nation, the Popeyes chicken sandwich is bringing with it a future full of excitement, as well as some unforeseen problems.

New York Post reporter Michael Hollan recently published an article warning lovers of the exclusive and elusive chicken sandwich that the unexpected popularity of the meal may have recently caused a minor, however highly surprising, shortage of smaller chickens that were the primary source of meat for the meal. Hollan reported after picking up the initial story from Bloomberg News that “the shortage of these smaller chickens played a role in Popeyes​ struggles to keep their sandwiches in stock.”

Executive vice president of analytics at supply-chain consultant ArrowStream, David Maloni, told reporters from Bloomberg that “smaller birds also take fast-food chains less labor as meat doesn’t need to be cut apart to fit the buns.” Because of the combination of cheaper and effectively sized chicken as well as even more effective marketing, the fast food chain caused all chicken sandwich boats to float due to the rising tide of enthusiasm. Maloni pointed at that in 2019, “Chick-fil-A’s total sales rose by 13%, while Popeyes’ same-store sales rose 10%.”

Now that the pandora’s box of the chicken sandwich wars has been opened, the competing fast food chains will have to find out how to either work with each other in order to not deplete the population of the much desired smaller sized chickens, or find alternative ways of working with existing farms and suppliers in order to have enough supply to keep up with market demand. After all, consumers have a taste for this specific bird and now fast food chains have to satisfy them or else lose their much eager customers.

Wendy’s saw this coming, according to Fox News. Wendy’s began using these smaller chickens in 2017, particularly because customers reported enjoying the “tenderness and juiciness” as they ate their sandwich.

The Fox News story continued to point at that apart from the obvious chicken sandwich competitors, now McDonalds has announced “it would add two chicken sandwiches to its breakfast menu” in addition to their current chicken sandwich lineup.

Regardless as to the current issue regarding the supply of chicken, even if some sandwiches such as the one from Popeyes are only seasonal, the fanbase alone seems to be keeping the legend of the sandwich and enthusiasm for it much alive. Such over-the-top displays of fan love now include such things as the Popeyes’ chicken sandwich “ugly sweater which is as ridiculous​ as it sounds.