Quick-service restaurants are getting into fried chicken sandwiches in a big way – a development that could revitalize both their business and that of their processor suppliers.
McDonald’s plans to start selling Crispy Chicken Sandwiches in February, after months of pressure from franchisees. At least nine other QSR chains have added chicken sandwiches to their menus, or plan to, including other burger-centric chains like Shake Shack and Jack in the Box.
According to Technomic, chicken-sandwich promotions from the largest QSR chains reached 213 last year, up 22% from 2019. Chicken sandwiches have sparked some notable successes in QSRs, like Popeye’s chicken sandwich, which inspired long lines during its introduction in 2019, and Chick-fil-A, which has ridden its flagship chicken breast sandwich to become the No. 3 U.S. QSR chain.
Chicken processors are delighted with the prospect of chicken sandwiches pushing prices higher; wholesale breast meat prices barely cracked $1 a pound this summer. “We wish all the participants much success,” CEO Joe Sanderson of Sanderson Farms told the Wall Street Journal.