McDonald's Debuts New Fried Chicken Sandwich to Compete With Chick-fil-A, Popeyes

The fast food wars are heating up, and McDonald’s is officially entering the battle over fried chicken sandwiches. Months after Popeyes debuted their new sandwich, sparking a nationwide craze, the Golden Arches debuted two brand new sandwiches in Houston, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday as part of a limited-time test run.

According to the beloved fast food chain, the Crispy Sandwich “is simply topped with butter and crinkle cut dill pickles,” while the Deluxe is “topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo.” Both new sandwiches are “served on a tasty buttery potato roll.”

The two new chicken sandwiches being tested to join McDonald’s already available lineup of poultry dishes, including the McChicken and various other products, like Chicken McNuggets, though those have all failed to create the same excitement as the poultry offered by its competing fast food chains.

The new sandwich’s debut comes after the popularity surrounding Chick-fil-A’s long-beloved chicken sandwiches and the more recently introduced Popeyes chicken sandwich, which not only continuously sold out, but also sparked physical brawls at some locations. Both of those fast food chains have also seen steady growth, with Chick-fil-A adding about 1,000 locations and nearly tripling its sales over the last decade, growth that poses a threat to McDonald’s.

“A favorite, that our customers want, is a chicken sandwich. Unfortunately, they have to go to Chick-fil-A for it," the board of the National Owners Association, a group of McDonald's franchisees that formed in 2018, wrote in a July letter, according to CNN Business. “Chick-fil-A's results demonstrate the power of chicken. Yes, we have great Chicken McNuggets and our McChicken is a very good product. But we do not compete in the premium chicken sandwich category, either grilled or crispy.”

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In October, the Golden Arches teased to the outlet that they had been cooking up something to level the playing field, saying in a statement that “we are inspired by the customer demand for premium chicken sandwiches, and are working closely with our franchisees to deliver what our customers want. Stay tuned."

The Crispy Sandwich and the Deluxe Sandwich are currently being tested in Houston and Knoxville until Jan. 26. As for whether or not others can expect to sink their teeth into the new dishes, a McDonald's representative said in a statement to Business Insider that “everyone else should stay tuned for what's to come in 2020."