Popeyes' spicy chicken sandwich is officially coming back

When Popeyes abruptly sold out of...

Posted: Oct 28, 2019 9:41 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2019 10:00 AM

When Popeyes abruptly sold out of its highly sought-after spicy chicken sandwich in August, hungry fans demanded to know when the viral phenomenon would return to its menu. Now, after a torturous two month wait, Popeyes announced Monday the item would return on November 3rd as a permanent item, and it doesn't anticipate running out.

'We plan to offer it to our guests for a long time,' Bruno Cardinali, head of marketing for North America at Popeyes, told CNN Business in an email. 'We are confident that we'll be able to meet the demand.'

Cardinali noted that Popeyes has stabilized its supply chain for the sandwich, a buttermilk battered and breaded white meat filet, topped with pickles and a choice of mayo or a spicy Cajun spread and served on a toasted brioche bun. Popeyes has also been hiring more employees to prepare for the relaunch.

Popeyes was forced to stop selling the item just two weeks after it launched due to 'extraordinary demand,' driven by a viral social media spat and America's growing appetite for chicken.

For Popeyes and its competitors, the fried chicken sandwich is a hot commodity. Chicken is now the most popular meat in America, and while beef consumption is growing, chicken is on the rise. Plus, while traffic to fast food restaurants is stagnating, sales of fried chicken sandwiches at fast food restaurants have been growing. Restaurant chains looking for ways to boost sales would benefit from selling the best (or buzziest) chicken sandwich.

Popeyes has been taking the endeavor seriously: It spent three years painstakingly researching what consumers like and testing out different options before finally landing on the right chicken sandwich recipe. It also had to add new equipment to restaurants and train employees on how to prepare the meal. Before rolling it out nationally, Popeyes referred to the sandwich as its 'biggest product launch in the last 30 years.

'In September, after the product ran out, Popeyes capitalized on the attention with a new 'bring your own bun' promotion, which encouraged customers to build their own version of the sandwich in restaurants.

In addition to the rising appetite for chicken, a Twitter battle helped call attention to the Popeyes chicken sandwich. A week after the product launched, Popeyes responded to a tweet from Chick-fil-A which it perceived as a dig, and the sassy comeback went viral. Though Chick-fil-A didn't take the bait, Wendy's jumped in -— sparking a Twitter battle that delighted onlookers.

'A lot of the buzz was created organically on social media,' Felipe Athayde, president of the Americas at Popeyes, told CNN Business. 'Our guests were engaging with us and we decided to have some fun alongside them,' he added, calling the reaction to the chicken sandwich 'truly extraordinary.'

To help market the return of the product, Popeyes seems to be angling for another spat with Chick-fil-A.

In promotional material for the sandwich, the Louisiana-based chain pointedly notes that it is open on Sundays. Chick-fil-A is not. (November 3, it should be noted, is a Sunday.) The chain is also taking out full-page ads in the New York Times, New Orleans Advocate and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a paper based in Chick-fil-A's home town.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 399808

Reported Deaths: 6346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin52652672
Cuyahoga39132746
Hamilton31491372
Montgomery21355242
Butler15768149
Lucas15301420
Summit14667330
Stark9780209
Warren878777
Mahoning7985301
Lake752566
Lorain7149106
Clermont622953
Delaware597337
Licking589977
Trumbull5867148
Fairfield576464
Greene559568
Clark5438129
Allen518389
Medina496557
Marion489359
Wood4861108
Miami456268
Pickaway410548
Portage385574
Columbiana376599
Tuscarawas360567
Richland349639
Wayne340894
Mercer299248
Muskingum262510
Hancock257240
Ross251259
Darke246160
Auglaize243935
Erie240868
Ashtabula240454
Putnam234549
Geauga227051
Union20838
Scioto204316
Lawrence201139
Shelby199917
Athens19984
Seneca192919
Belmont176729
Madison172019
Sandusky166429
Huron163022
Preble162521
Defiance149923
Holmes146939
Knox139719
Logan139018
Jefferson138113
Fulton135826
Crawford134417
Washington133427
Ottawa128830
Ashland117328
Williams11479
Clinton113115
Highland108118
Brown10755
Hardin107019
Henry105423
Champaign10535
Jackson102012
Van Wert99918
Fayette97317
Guernsey96814
Morrow9682
Coshocton91015
Perry86613
Adams83813
Gallia81615
Pike7921
Wyandot76118
Paulding70012
Hocking68516
Noble65124
Carroll53210
Meigs41712
Monroe34921
Morgan2925
Harrison2433
Vinton2326
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 33°
Angola
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 29°
Huntington
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 36°
Decatur
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Van Wert
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Warm Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events