One would think that the frenzy over which quick service restaurant chain has the best sandwich would be dying down by now, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
For example, just the other night, while struggling to sleep, I turned on the TV to find the Popeyes chicken sandwich and their lack of availability due to a demand higher than expected as the topic of discussion on Trevor Noah’s show on Comedy Central.
While that segment was comical, I found a comment made by Sanderson Farms CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. during the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference even more humorous: “We are very pleased there is a mini chicken sandwich war going on, between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. We hope that war expands, and other people get involved in it.”
Other restaurants and their chicken sandwiches
I wonder if Sanderson’s wish will come true.
I have seen on Twitter attempts by at least two chains trying to tout their chicken sandwiches: Wendy’s and Whataburger. However, those to me looked more like a jealous child trying to detract attention when their sibling has accomplished something great.
I know I’ve had a chicken sandwich at Wendy’s, but quite frankly, I can’t really remember how well I liked it. So, I can conclude that the sandwich was not on par with the sandwich from Popeyes that I blogged about earlier.
As for Whataburger, I do like that chain and eat there often when in Oklahoma, where they are more common. But I’m pretty sure I haven’t had their chicken, despite the fact that one of my favorite movie lines from “8 Seconds” was when Lane Frost was on his first date with his wife to be, and while she is smitten on screen by something he just said, he throws her off guard by asking, “How’s your Whatachicken?”
Even a few small, local businesses are getting online attention.
According to a Washington Post report, a family owned business known as the Roaming Rooster, which after a Tweet from one customer, had customers lined up outside the door to try its chicken sandwich.
There have to be others, I’m sure, who could easily jump into the conversation.
One chain that has been relatively quiet is Zaxby’s. I don’t live near any Zaxby’s location, but while traveling over Labor Day weekend, we stopped in for lunch at one.
There was a great variety of chicken dishes on the menu, but in the spirit of the present chicken restaurant feud, I knew I had to get some kind of sandwich option. I got the Nibblerz meal, which featured 3 chicken slider sandwiches.
And I loved them. Did the Zaxby’s sandwiches impress me as much as the one from Popeyes did? My initial thought was maybe not, but I think I’d need to try them side-by-side, much like the old Pepsi Challenge from when I was a kid. (Personally, I like R.C. better than both Coke and Pepsi.)
So why has Zaxby’s been so quiet? And if there are other chains out there that have extraordinary chicken sandwiches out there, will we hear from them?
Much of the battle is a result of product development, but it’s more a result of good marketing. And Popeyes’ marketing engine worked wonders for it, even to the point that its restaurants ran out of the sandwich for it had worked so hard to promote.
Other chains' marketing teams will have to get busy or else get left behind. Perhaps they could gain some insight at the next Chicken Marketing Summit, which has been scheduled for July 19-21 in Amelia Island, Florida.