According to an analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets, Popeyes recently sold about 1,000 chicken sandwiches per store each day before announcing the sandwich “will be going away for a while.” As a result, the new menu item made up about 30% of the fast-food chain’s sales while also doubling store traffic, which reportedly shocked Popeyes’ parent company Restaurant Brands International.
“Unbeknownst to [Restaurant Brands International] at the time, the launch of a new chicken sandwich at Popeye’s and subsequent Twitter debate would be a viral sensation that would disrupt the fast food industry and likely shape the outcome of 3Q19 results for some of the category’s largest players,” analyst Eric Gonzalez said in a note. The restaurant is also seeing residual traffic from the sensation, with Gonzalez raising same-store sales for Popeyes to 8% from 2%. Those estimates, however, could be “conservative” as the hype also killed same-store sales for rival chains like Burger King’s Impossible Burger debut and Wendy’s’ Spicy Chicken Nuggets promotion.
The sandwich became viral a week after being added to the menu and after a back and forth on Twitter with the Chick-fil-A handle.
The sensation became so massive that McDonald’s introduced a Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich to its menu.
… y’all good? https://t.co/lPaTFXfnyP
— Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) August 19, 2019