KFC wasn’t going to sit out the latest round of the quick-service chicken sandwich wars. Following 2021 news from McDonald’s and Shake Shack already, the chain introduced its “best chicken sandwich ever,” Thursday in select markets. The item, labeled simply the “KFC Chicken Sandwich,” will reach all 4,000 or so U.S. locations by the end of February, the company said.
The KFC Chicken Sandwich is made with a quarter-pound, all-white meat, double-breaded, “Extra Crispy” chicken breast filet and is served on a freshly toasted buttery brioche bun, topped with crispier, thicker pickles, and “the perfect amount of the Colonel’s real mayo or spicy sauce.”
Each sandwich will be made to order, the company said.
"We tested the new KFC Chicken Sandwich in Orlando last spring, and we nearly doubled our sales expectations, so we knew that we had a winner," Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer, KFC U.S., said in a statement "Many customers hadn't considered KFC as a part of the chicken sandwich conversation, but anyone who tastes this sandwich will know, without a doubt, that we're playing to win."
KFC said it tested pickles with eight variations of thickness and collaborated with six different bakeries on more than 10 recipes in order to find the right bun.
The YUM! Brands chain also launched a website, KFC.com/findthesandwich, to alert customers when the sandwich arrives nearby. People can also sign up to be notified via email.
The sandwich’s roll out begins with Chicago; Louisville; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle.
KFC will offer the item a la carte for $3.99 or as part of a combo, with KFC Secret Recipe Fries and a medium drink, for $6.99.
The Secret Recipe Fries were launched last year and have become the company’s best-selling side item.
Outside of menu innovation, KFC shared its next-generation restaurant models in November. The prototype features digital single-entry-point cubby systems for mobile and delivery orders, curbside delivery with dedicated parking spots, defined parking and soignange for delivery drivers, and self-service kiosks. One unit, an “express store,” doesn’t include a dining room and is roughly 1,800 square feet.
This past quarter, KFC reported a 4 percent slide in global comps, largely due to pressures surrounding international locations. U.S. same-store sales increased 9 percent in Q3, and 5 percent year-to-date, compared to a 7 percent decrease for international stores in the quarter, and 14 percent decline year-to-date.