What to Know
The chain sold out of the new menu item in August in a little more than two weeks
Popeyes sold as many as 1,000 sandwiches per day, according to estimates from KeyBanc Capital Markets
Popeyes’ chicken sandwich will return to stores Nov. 3.
In August, the Restaurant Brands International chain sold out of its new chicken sandwich in a little more than two weeks. The supply was supposed to last until the end of September.
The sandwich was designed to help Popeyes compete with Chick-fil-A, the market leader in fast-food chicken. It will return on a Sunday — the day of the week that all Chick-fil-A locations are famously closed.
Popeyes’ plan worked a little too well the first time. Thanks to a Twitter spat with Chick-fil-A that went viral, Popeyes sold as many as 1,000 sandwiches per day, according to estimates from KeyBanc Capital Markets. Customers who wanted to compare the new sandwich to Chick-fil-A’s classic chicken sandwich reported long lines inside restaurants and at the drive-thru.
Those who didn’t manage to get a Popeyes’ sandwich instead went to Chick-fil-A to fulfill their craving, according to a report from Gravy Analytics.
Gravy Analytics, a Dulles, Virginia-based firm, used anonymous location mobile data to analyze foot traffic. It found that fast-food chicken restaurants as a whole did not experience more traffic when Popeyes’ locations were contending with 30-minute long lines.
When both Popeyes and Chick-fil-A were experiencing a traffic bump, they were stealing customers from other similar restaurants. For example, Yum Brands’ KFC saw its average daily foot traffic decline 12% between Aug. 12 to Aug. 31 compared with July 22 to Aug. 11, according to Gravy Analytics data.
To prepare for consumer demand of the chicken sandwich, one Popeyes franchisee is planning on hiring 400 more employees, according to a Bloomberg report.
Thanks to the launch of the sandwich, Popeyes had its best quarter in nearly two decades, reporting U.S. same-store sales growth of more than 10%. Its parent company reported its third-quarter results on Monday.
This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC:
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