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The battle to unseat Popeyes as king of the chicken sandwich is getting heated.
KFC is the latest fast food chain to revamp its menu with a new chicken sandwich. By the end of February, diners across the country will get to order the new sandwich, which is replacing its current offering.
Owned by Yum Brands Inc, KFC said its Crispy Colonel Sandwich was not “living up to our legacy as experts in fried chicken” the company said in a statement.
The new sandwich, which was tested in Orlando earlier this year, is a double-breaded filet that’s crispier, served on a brioche bun and comes with the Colonel’s classic or spicy mayo and thicker pickles.
“They tested pickles with eight variations of thickness and brines before we landed on our pickle,” chief marketing officer of KFC US Andrea Zahumensky said in a statement earlier this year. “And for our perfect brioche bun, we collaborated with six different bakeries and tested more than ten formula revisions in order to find the right one to hug the larger-than-ever filet in just the right way.”
Popeyes — owned by Restaurant Brands International — sparked the chicken wars in 2019 with a $3.99 sandwich that was so popular it was sold out at many restaurants. That prompted other chains to seek to compete, including burger joints like McDonald’s.
The Golden Arches this week said it will launch three new versions of a crispy chicken sandwich in February. And Shake Shack this week announced a limited edition Korean style chicken sandwich that will be available in its US stores through April 5.
The Korean-style Fried Chick’n will be paired with Korean style fries, the company said.
Burger King, also owned by Restaurant Brands International, may also joint the fray as it has been testing a “hand breaded, crispy chicken” sandwich in Arizona, according restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski.
KFC’s new sandwiches will first be available today in select cities including Chicago, Kansas City, Louisville, Portland and San Francisco and by the end of February all 4,000 KFC locations in the U.S. will have the $3.99 sandwich, the company said.
“KFC has had a good year with same store sales that have been better than the average chain stores’ sales,” Kalinowski said.
But the 68 year-old chain has plenty of competition — and it was knocked off of its pedestal as the dominant chicken chain a while ago by Chick Fil A, Kalinowski added.
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