When Popeyes announced the addition of a chicken sandwich to their menu in August 2019, fast-food lovers across the country eagerly waited to try it. And in a week, the fried chicken filet with mayo and pickles on a brioche bun was sold out. Rivalled only by the Rick and Morty nugget sauce fiasco two years prior, the phenomenal release and response to the chicken sandwich sparked an online debate about which fast-food chain made the best chicken sandwich.
Chick-Fil-A Enters, Others Follow
After the astounding sell-out of its sandwich, Popeyes took to Twitter to say, “Y’all. We love that you love The Sandwich. Unfortunately we’re sold out (for now),” leaving the people who hadn’t had the chance to try it disappointed. But certain other fast-food chains saw the craze surrounding “The Sandwich” as a marketing opportunity with Chick-fil-A tweeting an ominous photo with the caption, “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the ❤️ for the original.” To which the Popeyes Twitter responded with, “…y’all good?” Thus, igniting the chicken sandwich war.
Other fast-food chains hurried to get in on the war reminding everyone about their chicken sandwiches. Wendy’s and Shake Shack were two restaurants that threw their sandwich in the ring with the king of fast food, McDonald’s, staying silent. But the main rivalry between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A had people tweeting which sandwich they preferred. Chicken sandwiches comparisons flooded the Internet and resulted in several think-pieces about both the cultural impact the chicken war had and taste tests writers took to settle the debate.
The Online Consensus for the Best Chicken Sandwich
The months following, articles compared various chicken sandwiches with solo tests by writers or whole teams who shared their personal opinions on their favorite version. Though results vary by article, here’s a general consensus for five different fast food chains:
Wendy’s Homestyle Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Unfortunately, most reviewers said that the Wendy’s chicken sandwich was a disappointment. Flavors were unbalanced and the chicken patty wasn’t tasty enough to save it.
Burger King’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Known more for the Whopper rather than any chicken items on the menu, the chicken sandwich fell short of standard expectations.
Arby’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Overall, the sandwich was satisfactory although the chicken tasted reheated and could be improved with better dressings.
Chick-fil-A’s Original Chicken Sandwich
The original, bare bones chicken sandwich comes with its three simple ingredients and that’s it. Taste testers found the patty to be soggy and thought the sandwich could use a bit more dressing.
Popeyes’ Classic Chicken Sandwich
That leaves the restaurant that started it all – Popeyes. The newcomer checks all of the expectations of a classic fried chicken sandwich with the perfectly-sized patty and just the right amounts of everything else.
The Biggest Cluck
The hype surrounding Popeyes sandwich led to its scarcity, but social media marketing made it legendary. Chick-fil-A’s intentional jab at Popeyes and the subsequent response stirred up enough controversy and attention for people to purchase both sandwiches for comparison – benefiting both chains at the end of the day.