Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil spoke at length last week about Popeyes’ chicken sandwich run. Notably, how it’s helped the brand reach $1.8 million in average-unit volume, up from $1.4 million pre-game-changing launch. A staggering run that’s watched Popeyes’ systemwide sales increase nearly 18 percent to more than $5 billion this past year, pandemic be damned.
With that success in the books and still going, it was a matter of when, not if, RBI would carry some of its chicken sandwich mettle to sister brand Burger King. Cil hinted at such a move following the company’s Q4 earnings.
And on Wednesday, the company unveiled its first look at the upcoming product. Burger King confirmed plans to introduce a new chicken sandwich “later this year.” It promises to deliver something “as good as one you could get from the big chicken guys.”
“No more ‘burger-joint-quality’ chicken,” Burger King said. “So, we’re bringing a hand-breaded chicken sandwich to our restaurants.”
“What if hand-breading were to chicken what flame-grilling is to burgers? That’s been our guiding filter to bring a delicious chicken sandwich to guests in a way only BK can,” Ellie Doty, chief marketing officer, Burger King North America, said in a statement. “We’ll take the time to get it right and our guests will definitely taste the difference.”
Burger King said it’s worked on the hand-breaded chicken sandwich since 2019 and “not-so-secretly” tested it since September 2020. It plans to offer an original and spicy version.
Burger King said the sandwich features thick-cut white meat chicken breast freshly breaded by hand “for a bite that is crispy on the outside and juice on the inside.”
It will be served on a tasty potato bun with crisp deli pickles and a “savory signature sauce.”
If guests want, they can add lettuce and tomato as well.
“Since we aren’t down to half a** the process, we plan to introduce our sandwich later this year. We promise it will be worth the wait,” the company said.
Burger King’s Q4 same-store sales declined 2.9 percent in the U.S.