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Popeyes Publicity Sparks Local Chicken RunLock Icon

2 min read

The New Yorker’s headline Tuesday said it all: “The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America.”

That’s internet-ironic hyperbole, but the magazine’s review of the fried chicken sandwich was almost worshipful:

“Both sandwiches [classic and spicy] stick the landing on the most important element of a fast-food sandwich: the fusion of its distinct components into an ineffable, irresistible gestalt. The salt, the fat, the sharpness, the softness — together, they’re what flavor scientists might describe as ‘high amplitude,’ a combination so intense, and so perfectly balanced, that they meld into one another to form a new, entirely coherent whole.”

OK.

The New Yorker was getting in on a conversation that started gaining momentum on Twitter last Monday. It became a Twitter meme that sparked a sort of “chicken sandwich war,” with fans of Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Arkansas’ own Slim Chickens chain, Shake Shack and others — and in some cases the companies themselves — weighing in on the relative merits of their chicken sandwiches.

On Thursday, the encomiums continued to crest, with publications from The Washington Post to the Indianapolis Star giving the Popeyes sandwich raves and reports of Popeyes restaurants around the country having sold out of the item.

Meanwhile, in central Arkansas, the Popeyes at 3208 S. University Ave. in Little Rock had run out of the sandwich by 1 p.m. Thursday; the Popeyes at 12201 Maumelle Blvd. in North Little Rock had run out of the brioche bun with which to make the sandwich, though more were on the way; and the Popeyes at 716 E. Broadway in North Little Rock still had the sandwich, though an employee reported that they’d been wildly popular.

Restaurant Business magazine last week declared that Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen of Atlanta — a brand owned by Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Burger King and Tim Hortons — had won the “chicken war.”

Google searches for “Popeyes” and “chicken sandwich” surged more than 1,000%, Restaurant Business’ Jonathan Maze reported.

“All of this is fabulous news for Popeyes, which has enjoyed tons of virtually free advertising for a new product that is important to its future, generating interest in the sandwich without running a single ad.”

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