The creation of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich was underway for two years until it debuted on Aug. 12. In a mere two weeks, the three-month supply of the sandwich was completely sold out. On Nov. 4, the chicken sandwich was reintroduced with the promise that it is here to stay.
The popularity and success of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is owed to the incredible hype it has garnered on social media. One of the first sparks that ignited the battle between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A began when Chick-fil-A posted a tweet: “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the [heart emoji] for the original.” Popeyes responded with a pointed: “... y’all good?”
Whether planned or not, it was a genius marketing move to pit the two chicken-restaurant giants against each other. Chicken connoisseurs began to pick sides and vehemently petition for their favorite sandwich. Today, the murmuring voices are put to rest.
The two eateries will be judged based on four factors — the most important being taste, followed by service, ambiance and price.
Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich was invented in 1964 by founder S. Truett Cathy, and the recipe has stayed the same since. With a thick piece of juicy chicken nestled between two buns and topped with a few pickles, Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich is a tough one to beat.
Popeyes’ chicken sandwich consists of a hefty piece of extravagantly breaded chicken, pickles and mayonnaise. Upon first bite, it’s unclear if Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is good or not, which is a big red flag. If something isn’t instantly delicious upon the initial bite, it’s simply not. During the next few bites, the integrity of the sandwich becomes more evident. It doesn’t have a very distinctive taste, mirroring the taste of fried chicken rather than a chicken sandwich. It’s crispy and much more breaded than Chick-fil-A’s chicken, which only alludes to fried chicken even more.
The chicken doesn’t seem to have any original seasoning. Instead, it possesses the same greasy texture as fried chicken. And, bizarre as it sounds, it tasted similar to a simple ham sandwich at some points due to the lack of seasoning. Aside from the chicken, there is a plethora of smooth and thinly sliced pickles. Unlike Chick-fil-A, which leaves the sandwich to stand alone with only two magical ingredients, chicken and pickles, Popeyes adds mayonnaise on its chicken sandwich. However, the mayonnaise on the Popeyes’ sandwich doesn’t add any special taste factor, while Chick-fil-A’s chicken is juicy enough to make the sandwich flavorful on its own.
It seems Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is just a piece of fried chicken masquerading as a chicken sandwich.
Since its chicken sandwich is a new, hot commodity, it’s no surprise that Popeyes’ drive-thru and lobby were filled with endless customers. However, with a small facility and few employees, service is polite but sluggish. A request for extra sauce can be a hassle for a customer, as employees are consistently occupied with another task. Additionally, Popeyes doesn’t appear to have any signature sauce like its competitor’s famous Chick-fil-A Sauce.
At Chick-fil-A, the service is unparalleled. Granted, it does have a bigger facility and more employees, but guests are well taken care of with swift and prompt assistance. Sauce is handed out at the time of order and food is ready within minutes. It’s the little things, like convenient sauce distribution, that go a long way.
Popeyes exudes the feeling of a home-style meal and a laid-back household, while Chick-fil-A embodies freshness and a close-knit family. With a brand color palette consisting of red and a bold yellow-orange color, the inside of Popeyes’ lobby gives off a rushed, get-it-and-go vibe. While, in some ways, the environment is relaxed, it doesn’t feel like a place one can let out a breath of air and unwind for a while.
Chick-fil-A’s red and white color scheme results in a more inviting lobby with lots of open space and light-colored walls. The ambiance in Chick-fil-A is more gentle and allows customers to take their time and enjoy their meal and company.
Lastly, there isn’t much of a price difference between the two chicken sandwiches, but there is still a notable one. At Popeyes, a sandwich costs $3.99, while a meal, complete with seasoned fries and a drink, comes in at $6.99. At Chick-fil-A, a sandwich costs $3.79, while a meal that comes with waffle fries and a drink totals $6.85.
Resoundingly, Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich is superior. The eating experience is nearly revolutionary, from the actual taste of the sandwich to the service, environment and the price point.
It’s easy to say Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich is simply the best and end right here. However, it’s worth mentioning that people have different preferences.
So, in an effort to be inclusive in the battle of the taste buds, a distinction will be made — if it’s a classic, never-disappointing chicken sandwich you’re craving, Chick-fil-A is the way to go. If it’s a fried-chicken taste you’re after, Popeyes is the poultry joint for you.