There’s no doubt that the Popeyes fried chicken sandwich was the fast food phenomenon of 2019, or that Chick-fil-A’s sandwich is still its flagship item.
But, McDonald’s is trying yet again to lure customers with its late entry in the fried chicken sandwich wars.
On Monday, McDonald’s began testing the Crispy Chicken Sandwich in Houston and Knoxville.
The sandwich has a fried chicken filet served on a potato roll, topped with butter and pickles. There’s also a deluxe version with tomatoes, lettuce and mayo.
(You might remember that Taco Bell also picked Houston as a place where it is testing Crispy Tortilla Chicken.)
McDonald’s gave a hit of its plans Sunday on social media. The test is set to ru through Jan. 26.
The bag brought to mind the packaging that Popeyes is using for its chicken sandwich, which in turn is inspired by Chick-fil-A’s offering.
McDonald’s has made numerous attempts to make headway in the chicken sandwich, but it has never had the impact of Chick-fil-A, nor seen anything like the hoopla surrounding Popeyes.
Last July, key franchise holders begged McDonald’s for a sandwich that could compete with their Southern based rival.
“A Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s should be our top priority,” the National Owners Association board said.
“JFK called for a man on the moon, our call should be a category leading chicken sandwich.”
That email was set just a few weeks before Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich, which sold out in only two weeks. The sandwich returned in November to long lines and it remains a strong seller a month after its return.
The franchisees said they were pleased with the Southern Style Chicken Sandwich, which was on the McDonald’s menu until several years ago.
They suggested bringing it back, with some modifications to make it appear more like a Chick-fil-A sandwich. That appears to be what McDonald’s is aiming for with its test sandwich.
Still, the fast food giant has had other chicken sandwich tests. Restaurant Business, a trade publication, notes that it tried out a made-to-order sandwich in Seattle about a year ago.
And McDonald’s effort at a plant-based burger is still undergoing evaluation in Southwest Ontario. There’s no word of the company’s plans to do more with the P.L.T.