McDonald's Takes on Chick-Fil-A With New Chicken Sandwich

McDonald's has sold chicken sandwiches before, but they have never tried out a sandwich that so blatantly copies and targets rival Chick-fil-A's famous chicken sandwiches until now.

On Monday, McDonald's announced plans to test the Ultimate Chicken Sandwich and Ultimate Chicken Tenders at over 160 locations in Western Washington State. Both are made to order, are lightly-breaded and made with seasoning on all-white meat chicken.

The sandwich is made with a breast fillet topped with Sweet Dijon Sauce and pickles on an Artisan roll. The tenders are available in 4, 6 or 10-piece orders. You can also get the Sweet N' Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Tenders, which are the tenders tossed in glazed-to-order bold flavors.

“Our focus on menu innovation is essential as we continue to evolve and build a better McDonald’s,” Linda VanGosen, McDonald’s Vice President of Menu Innovation, said in a statement. “Our made-to-order Ultimate Chicken Sandwich and Ultimate Chicken Tenders reflect McDonald’s commitment to respond to customers’ desires for more chicken offerings, higher quality, and distinct, delicious flavors.”

“We’re excited for our Seattle and Western Washington customers to be some of the first in the country to test the Ultimate Chicken Sandwich and Ultimate Chicken Tenders. We look forward to hearing our customers’ response to our hot, made-to-order chicken offerings," Shari Nixon, McDonald’s Western Washington Co-Op President and franchise owner, added.

There is no word on when the Ultimate Chicken menu items will be available outside Washington State, but if they are successful there, it would only be a matter of time before they are rolled out nationwide.

The menu items are clearly an attempt from McDonald's to take a bite out of Chick-fil-A's dominance of the chicken fast food sandwich market.

According to Forbes, a 2017 QSR Magazine study shows that Chick-fil-A restaurants' average sales per location were $4.4 million, almost $2 million more than McDonald's and $3.3 million more than KFC.

Chick-fil-A's staggering growth in the past few years means the Atlanta-based chain could be the third-largest fast food chain in the country by 2020. A Technomic study found it could be bigger than Taco Bell, Burger King and Wendy's by then, with only McDonald's and Starbucks in front of it.

Part of the company's recent success, aside from giving customers the food they like, is its embrace of technology and helping customers get in and out as quickly as possible.

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"Technology, competition, healthy food trends, and on-demand delivery are all pressing in on us. The cost pressures with food and insurance and a better work environment have all changed dramatically since I came to Chick-fil-A," Bryan Bullington, a Chick-fil-A owner in Houston, told BuzzFeed in March. "But fundamentally we’re the same… We’re still chicken."

Photo credit: McDonald's