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Ultimate BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich .jpg Photo courtesy of KFC
KFC's Ultimate BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich was tested in the Tampa, Florida, market and will be available nationwide beginning July 3 for a limited time.

KFC is rolling out its BBQ chicken sandwich nationally

KFC’s new sandwich comes as several brands add variations to the high demand offering, indicating we may be in a second phase of the so-called chicken sandwich wars.

KFC’s Ultimate BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich test, launched in Tampa, Florida, in February, must have proven successful; the chain announced today that the sandwich will be available nationwide beginning July 3 and for a limited time.  The sandwich includes an Extra Crispy 100% white meat filet topped with hickory smoked bacon, KFC’s signature honey BBQ Sauce, fried onions, melted cheese and pickles and is served on a brioche bun.

“With the best tastes of summer and our finger lickin’ good fried chicken between two buttery brioche buns, the Ultimate BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich is an invitation to savor every last joyful ‘bite’ of summer. It’s a BBQ in every bite,” CMO Nick Chavez said in a statement.

KFC is promoting its new sandwich through a partnership with, a travel membership site that searches for flight discounts. Through the partnership, KFC will give fans who order the BBQ sandwich via its app or website the chance to win a vacation for two to Aruba. The offer runs from July 3 through Aug. 13 and covers the flight, hotel for four days/three nights, a sunset dinner cruise, horseback beach ride and more. Scott Keyes, founder of Going, said interest in travel to Aruba is up 50% versus last year. Additionally, up to 500 customers will receive a one-year premium membership (worth $49) with Going, providing access to international and domestic flights.

KFC is also introducing a new blackberry lemonade this summer and, starting June 30, a new $20 Fill Up Box. The box includes a 12-piece of KFC’s new nuggets, four pieces of chicken, Secret Recipe fries, four biscuits and the choice of dipping sauces. Suggested retail price is $7.15 for the sandwich a la carte and $10.56 for the sandwich combo with Secret Recipe Fries and blackberry lemonade or your choice of medium drink.

Chicken sandwich wars 2.0

KFC’s national launch of its Ultimate BBQ Fried Chicken Sandwich comes as several brands roll out new variations of the product, which went viral upon Popeyes’ sandwich launch in 2019. Consumer demand clearly exists for such an offering, as evidenced by Popeyes’ initial success, as well as KFC’s tailwind from its chicken sandwich launch in 2021. Other brands, including McDonald’s, have also experienced a surge in sales following their chicken sandwich launches. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said its newly-coined McChicken helped the company gain share in the chicken category, for instance.

The so-called chicken sandwich wars have continued to evolve since those initial launches, and KFC isn’t the only brand that has added to its platform. McDonald’s recently featured a bacon ranch McCrispy on its website, for instance, while Popeyes added a blackened chicken sandwich last year. This week, KFC sister brand The Habit Burger Grill debuted a new spicy chicken sandwich. Also, Chick-fil-A recently announced it is testing a new grilled chicken sandwich, made with a lemon herb marinated boneless chicken breast and topped with pepper jack cheese, lettuce and bacon tossed in a brown sugar and pepper blend. It is served on a buttered and toasted maple-flavored brioche bun. And, Panda Express is testing an orange chicken sandwich at select Southern California locations, while Burger King is reportedly bringing back the Italian BK Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich.  

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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