For two weeks I listened to intense debates about the Popeyes new Fried Chicken Sandwich and how it ranks among its competitors. I finally decided to join the discussion. My first challenge was to select a Popeyes. The major part of the debate is that “Not all Popeyes” are the same. So, I selected a Popeyes in a well-traveled area. This Popeyes always has a mostly full parking lot. I went inside. The line stretched to the door. The Drive-Thru line was long as well, so I stayed inside and waited in line for 30 minutes. As I waited, I watched other diners open their sandwiches. I could see the steam coming from one guy’s sandwich. Now, my excitement is starting to build. I get close enough to see the menu. Wow, those chicken sandwiches look great on the menu. It’s my turn to order. I get the Classic Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich, No Mayo. (I am not a fan of mayonnaise). Instead, I requested Sweet Heat Sauce on the side. I also got a side of Cajun Fries, and finished my order with a Sweet Tea. I rushed to find a seat and just glanced at the sandwich. I can already tell, that this will be a homerun. I unwrapped the sandwich to notice the glorious meat to bun ratio was 2:1!
I took one bite and closed my eyes. This sandwich is delicious. It’s everything I love about Popeyes mixed with everything I love about fried chicken sandwiches. The chicken breast was crispy AND crunchy. The meat was tender. Each time I took a bite, I could see steam escaping from the sandwich. O.M.G.
I took a few more bites and was pleasantly greeted by thick sliced pickles! The Sweet Heat dipping sauce was the final element of this winning combination. I ate bite after bite after bite. Each bite was better than the last bite. I was so focused on my sandwich that I forgot all about the Cajun Fries.
1. It’s $3.99 y’all
2. Hot, Fresh, Tasty, Crispy,
3. This sandwich is VERY filling. There’s really no need to buy the combo.
1. Not all chicken breasts are the same. If you are lucky, you will get a 2:1 chicken to bun ratio. However, sometimes, the chicken is smaller, you might end up with a 1:1 chicken to bun ratio
2. Hot & Ready or just Ready – One my second visit, I got a piece of chicken that had been sitting in the warmer for a little while. I could tell the difference in the tenderness of the chicken and the amount of force I needed to take a bite. In a nutshell, steam isn’t guaranteed for all.
3. Employee attitudes. The employees are over this chicken sandwich already. Some customers are like me and arrive at the counter super-excited. It would be nice if the employees would respond to the excitement, instead of responding with blank stares and replying “Is that all?”
Now to address the obvious question. How does Popeyes compare to Chick-Fil-A?
Today, Popeyes wins. Their chicken breast is larger, crispier, and juicer than the Chick-Fil-A chicken breast. Also, the Popeyes chicken breast will remain crispy for longer than the Chick-Fil-A chicken breast.
Secondly, Popeyes pickles are thicker and have more of a homemade taste than Chick-Fil-A pickles.
Chick-Fil-A has mastered the art of consistency. When customers go to CHick-Fil-A, they know exactly what they will get. Popeyes’ biggest issue will be consistency. Popeyes must make sure that all of their sandwiches are consistently good. Popeyes can achieve this by ensuring that the sandwiches are made to order as much as possible.
Then, the only thing keeping Chick-Fil-A afloat will be their “It’s My Pleasure” employees and their Market Salad. If either of those factors change, Chick-Fil-A will be in serious trouble.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich. I have already had two this week!
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