Chicken Wars: The Sequel

Yes, the Chicken Wars were a huge boon for Popeyes and others this summer. The excitement around chicken sandwiches reached a fever pitch, lines spanned around the block and the poultry craze seemingly took over the summer of 2019. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always better than the original. Well, maybe not always, but perhaps in the case of chicken sandwiches.

So was the summer Chicken War a flash in the pan? Could the relaunch of the Popeyes chicken sandwich catch lightning in a bottle a second time so soon after the first craze? We dug into the first day of the long-awaited relaunch to find out.

Laying a Golden Egg

Even with seemingly every star aligning to make chicken sandwiches the coolest thing in town, the relaunch on November 3rd surpassed even the peak of the summer craze. Taking the entire period from January 1st 2017 through November 3rd 2019, the relaunch date rise 299.3% above the baseline, blowing past the summer peaks of 255.6% and 243.0% on Friday, August 23rd and Saturday, August 24th.

Benefits Across the Henhouse

Yet, again it also looks like the craving for chicken will have benefits to go around. KFC saw Friday visits ahead of the launch that were 36.4% above the baseline, mirroring exactly the same rise on the same Friday the year before. Yet, Saturday and Sunday rose dramatically over the same days the year before from 16.9% and 11.2% above the baseline for Saturday November 3rd and Sunday November 4th 2018 to 24.5% and 28.6% for Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd in 2019.

This significant rise mimics the impact felt during the summer where the rising tide of poultry craving lifted all the chicken oriented boats. 


The Chicken Wars are barely a memory and yet they have returned with renewed vigor. The big questions that will define this latest stage in the product’s cycle will be whether the interest can be sustained – even at a lower and more manageable level – or if it requires these bursts to create the needed urgency and demand. 

The second factor worth monitoring is how the competition ramps up their own activity in order to take advantage of this trend.

Check-in on both of these and more at

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