Popeyes is expanding its menu to add a blackened chicken sandwich and bacon and cheese toppings for its chicken sandwiches.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is permanently adding a blackened chicken sandwich to its menu on Tuesday, marking the first addition to its line of chicken sandwiches since the craze began four years ago.
The new menu item features a chicken breast that has been marinated for 12 hours and seasoned with Cajun spices, but lacks the breading of the chain’s existing chicken sandwich. Popeyes President Sami Siddiqui said in a statement that the blackened chicken sandwich offers diners “a lighter option that’s perfect for every day.”
THE International restaurant brands also lets customers add bacon and Havarti cheese to all of its chicken sandwiches, starting at $1.50 more.
The menu changes suggest Popeyes is relying on the popularity of its chicken sandwich to lure customers. The wider restaurant industry has seen visits plummet as customers forgo dining out to manage their budget.
When the chain first launched the menu item four years ago, it sold out in less than a month, helped in part by a social media feud with Chick-fil-A. The chicken sandwich returned permanently several months later, leading to double-digit comparable store sales growth for Popeyes for several quarters. Even when pandemic closures caused restaurant sales to plummet, Popeyes was the rare chain to report growing demand.
Other chains entered the arena, trying to show Popeyes with their own chicken sandwiches. The added competition, combined with its higher base sales overall, has resulted in less impressive growth for Popeyes recently. In the first quarter, its same-store sales in the United States rose only 3.4%.
Popeyes has also pushed beyond its chicken sandwich to boost sales. He added Ghost Pepper Wings to his menu permanently after the spicy limited-time item sold out in just two weeks in January.
Shares of parent Restaurant Brands have risen 16% this year, fueled by early signs of a turnaround in its U.S. Burger King business. The company has a market value of $23.4 billion.
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