The Best Chicken Sandwich is Being Decided by Twitter.
By Laurabeth Ellis
While the debate is a classically silly August conversation, Popeyes has gained significant traction over the last week by claiming they have a better chicken sandwich than Chick-fil-A. And the battle isn’t even slowing down — it’s only heating up. So how is Popeyes currently going head-to-head with the best fast-food chain in America?
Why It Matters
Popeyes — the fast-food chain known for their fried chicken and salty (but delicious) buttery biscuits — launched their new fried chicken sandwich nationwide on August 12, 2019. Since Friday, 8,000 people have shared this SBNation article on Facebook, and 1,000 have shared it on Twitter. And that’s just one article. The real action is on Twitter.
Twitter battles between fast-food chains aren’t uncommon (looking at you Wendy’s), and earlier this week Popeyes proved they were ready for war. Last Friday, Popeyes tweeted a photo of their new sandwich, receiving more than 22,680 total interactions so far (including comments, shares and likes).
Then, on Monday, Chick-fil-A clapped back with a tweet, reminding Americans about the classic: “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the ❤️ for the original.”
That post has so far received more than 11,700 total interactions. Without letting Chick-fil-A have the last word, Popeyes responded to Chick-fil-A with a sarcastic “…y’all good?”
That tweet blew up. It has garnered more than 255,600 total interactions — almost 20 times more than Chick-fil-A’s post. For their quick-witted response to Chick-fil-A’s attempt to reset the narrative, Popeyes won this round.
What’s unique in this instance is that Twitter did not start the popularity of this digital conversation. Late last week, SBNation wrote about the new chicken sandwich first — a good reminder that there’s no media like earned media. Popeyes’ tweet promoting their own sandwich didn’t come until that evening after 7 pm ET. However, stories didn’t start pouring in until Popeyes responded to Chick-fil-A’s tweet. Since the response, dozens of top-tier outlets have covered the debate, including Business Insider, USA TODAY, Fox News, The Takeout and Eater.
Given the flood of attention, it’s no surprise that Wendy’s joined in the mix. They offered a single, pithy tweet that Popeyes and Chick-fil-A were “fighting over who has the second-best chicken sandwich.” We’ve seen them use this strategy before in a feud over who had the better spicy crispy chicken sandwich: Wendy’s or Burger King, and we’ve also seen them brawl with Steak ‘N Shake and McDonald’s.
There are nearly 70 million Twitter users today, and companies are using that to their advantage. By provoking customers, followers and bored Twitter users to engage and debate over the best chicken sandwich, Popeyes essentially gets free advertising. Now, everyone is running to Popeyes to see if the rumors are true. Is Popeyes’ chicken sandwich truly better than Chick-fil-A’s? No, of course not, but that probably won’t stop you from trying Popeyes new chicken sandwich.