The Great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019

By Lyle Foster
Unite Contributing Writer

 Well, did you get one?  You know what I mean…one of those Popeyes chicken sandwiches?  I tried to but they were all gone.  In one of the zaniest social media and marketing campaigns inn history the great chicken sandwich war has come and gone.  But not before some unbelievable stories of tasty chicken and driving around to find the ultimate chicken sandwich.  To those who read this column you will recall I am a Popeyes man and proud of it….and don’t tell anyone but the Popeye’s outlets in Springfield have seen me roll through the drive through on more than one occassion...
 Yes. I’m a Popeye’s fan.  The truth is every now and then no matter how much you try to reform you have to give the old sandwich a try.  

But I have to admit I was slightly late to the party for the sandwich war. I started reading bits and pieces of a throw down between Chick-Fil-A and Popeyes but didn’t fully catch on until it was full scale on. Some of the social media pictures and comments were priceless and yes unbelievable and of course downright funny. Of course we all will remember the $350 asking price for a Popeyes chicken sandwich on Ebay …I wanted the sandwich for sure but not that bad….lol. And the very unfortunate story of the man in Houston who got so frustrated that he pulled a gun out on the Popeyes workers in Houston to get them to produce a chicken sandwich. But they were out and that was just wrong. This is the perfect opportunity to give a shout out to all of the Popeyes workers who had to put in extra hours when they did have the sandwich and who experienced untold grief when the sandwich was sold out. I hope Popeye gives them a raise and a bonus!!!
They definitely deserve it!
One of the more interesting aspects of the social media war is that it was largely fueled by diverse audiences on social media and sure that taps into the stereotype of who likes chicken but in this case we all love chicken and if we happen to say it louder it just is what it is.
The funniest part of it all to me is that it is just a little sandwich but that shows the power of food and creative marketing to put our taste buds to the test and a really good sandwich has a lot of power in the food world.
Yes, a brioche bun, a crunchy chicken breast, a pickle , and a special sauce and the right combination can become a major distraction. And do not be fooled all of the major fast food chains are trying to tweak and perfect their sandwich to the next level to get in on the unbelievable popularity of chicken. It’s just that Popeye’s seems to have hit on the fright combination and hit the market at the optimal moment. The playful volley that started between Chick Fil-a and Popeye’s took the competition to unprecedented levels.
Chick Fil-a had the advantage of having had their product in the system and having it down to a well oiled machine. In fact there were a number of stories about Chick Fil-a workers taking some of their sandwiches over to worn out Popeyes employees. And speaking of Chick Fil-a I have to give them credit they have the nicest, most polite employees in the industry. Whatever they do in their training needs to be duplicated, replicated and imitated.!!! Popeye’s on the other hand was seeking to launch a fresh chicken sandwich for a promotion and get some traction but had never anticipated it would get to the unprecedented levels that it did. So when it did it was Game ON! Well maybe we should say Chicken on! And there just wasn’t enough to go around and the distribution system got overwhelmed and the suppliers couldn’t keep up.
And who lost …well we know it was you and I who were driving around to those drive throughs tryin to get a chicken sammich….Where’s my chicken? Well Popeye’s lost too because it certainly could have sold a lot more chicken but in the long run they got tens of millions in publicity and when the sandwich does come back it’s going to be Christmas in October.
I did talk to a few satisfied customers who did get the sandwich and they were extremely happy plus they got bragging rights…and to the all important question. Who has the best Sammich? Well….the informal tally I took showed Poyeyes’ edging out Chic Fil-a by a feather!
Let me know what you think and see you in the drive through lane!!!