A little over four years ago, a single quote tweet from Popeyes to Chick-fil-A ignited the so-called chicken sandwich wars and changed the course of QSR menus toward a much more intentional path filled with handheld, portable, boneless poultry options.
Sure, we had seen consumer preferences shift to such options for several years prior to 2019, but for the most part, brands stayed in their lanes. Chick-fil-A had its sandwich. McDonald’s was a destination for McNuggets, and KFC had its bone-in loyalists. But on Aug. 12, 2019, when Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich, it quickly became the chain’s most successful product ever and helped spur accelerated growth for the brand. And so, as is typically the case in QSR, everyone else jumped in and we saw what seemed to be millions of chicken sandwich launches.