With Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s chicken sandwiches reigning supreme in the fast-casual dining arena, McDonald’s takes a slice out of the space with its own chicken choices.
Though McDonald’s has been busy releasing new items like spicy chicken nuggets and the McPlant burger, its new chicken sandwich lineup could be its most anticipated yet. The rollout includes a Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and Deluxe Chicken Sandwich—all of which will be available nationwide beginning February 24. Similar to how competitors Popeyes and Chick-fil-A serve their chicken sandwiches, McDonald’s will also serve two of the new sandwiches in foil bags, which can help to keep the chicken warm. The focus on expanding its chicken sandwich options is the result of consumer demand for chicken over beef. While many fast-casual restaurants, like Wendy’s and Burger King, have also built up their menu on beef burgers, a growing preference for chicken has seen menu items like chicken sandwiches and nuggets rise in demand.
McDonald’s pared down its menu during the Coronavirus pandemic in a bid to “simplify” the ordering process for consumers and franchisees. As such, the addition of three new menu items will mark one of its largest extensions in a year and could signal to consumers that dining is heading back to “normal”. McDonald’s will not begin marketing the chicken sandwiches until March, when it will run promotions online, out-of-home, and via social media. However, loyal consumers can still hear about the new sandwiches via the McDonald’s app, which will promote the additions as order options once they drop in late February. Until then, McDonald’s could build anticipation with loyal fans, which could lead to a surge in orders next month according to a Gartner report. Additionally, marketing three new chicken sandwiches could help McDonald’s appeal to those who currently favor Popeyes or Chick-fil-A’s chicken options, as they may be willing to taste-test a new sandwich option.
McDonald’s saw a sales boost during the pandemic, as consumers frequented its drive-thru lanes to order classic menu items. With the addition of its new chicken sandwiches, the restaurant brand could sustain—or increase—those sales and provide a new menu staple for consumers to munch on.