Numerous brands have released promotions in connection to June’s Pride Month, Burger King among that group.
But the chain clearly has a point to get across with its marketing efforts. A day after the systemwide release of its new chicken sandwich Ch’King, the fast-food giant declared it would donate 40 cents up to $250,000 for every sandwich sold this month to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the U.S. In a tweet, Burger King said the deal would be available “even on Sundays”—a clear shot at Chick-fil-A, which is closed on Sundays and has a controversial history with the LGBTQ+ community.
"This is a community we love dearly and have proudly supported over the years, so we couldn’t miss an opportunity to take action and help shine a light on the important conversation happening," a spokesperson told USA TODAY.
As of Wednesday morning, the message was retweeted more than 3,000 times and liked more than 13,500 times. Burger King also trended nationally on Twitter.
In 2012, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to his support of a traditional family. During an interview with WSB-TV in Atlanta in 2018, the CEO said he personally supports the “biblical definition of marriage,” and that his statement in 2012 wasn’t an “anti this or anti that statement at all.”
Last week, The Daily Beast reported that the Equality Act, a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community in most settings, has been railed against by the National Christian Charitable Foundation. Cathy is one of the biggest donors of that organization. The news came a year and a half after Chick-fil-A said it would stop donating to charities with anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs.
Burger King isn’t the first brand to take aim at Chick-fil-A over its chicken sandwich. In the wake of the social media storm that was Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich in the summer of 2019, Chick-fil-A tweeted “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the heart for the original.” In a reply, Popeyes fired back, “ ... y’all good?”
... y’all good? https://t.co/lPaTFXfnyP— Popeyes (@PopeyesChicken) August 19, 2019
Around that same time, a Houston-based Popeyes put a sign reading “FYI, people need to eat on Sundays.” A Chick-fil-A restaurant responded with, “FYI, we don’t run out of chicken sandwiches,” which was a not-so-subtle hit against Popeyes’ early supply issues with its chicken sandwich.
With its dig, Burger King is looking to take advantage of a chicken sandwich war that Chick-fil-A has historically dominated. Overall spending on chicken sandwiches soared 420 percent between January 2019 and December 2020, according to ecommerce company Edison Trends. As of April, Chick-fil-A led in market share (41 percent), followed by McDonald’s (27 percent), Popeyes (12 percent), Wendy’s (6 percent), KFC (5 percent) Jack in the Box (4 percent), Burger King (3 percent), and Zaxby’s (2 percent). The results were based on more than 120,000 U.S. transactions from top-selling restaurants via food delivery service sales.
Burger King’s Ch’King, which received a full launch on June 3, is expected to increase visits and check and drive incrementality, according to Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cíl. The product is served on a toasty potato bun with crisp pickles and a savory signature sauce. There’s also the Spicy Ch’King, which includes a spicy glaze, or the Deluxe, which features lettuce and tomatoes, but no pickles.