Seasons come and seasons go, but still the chicken wars rage on.
But among all the upstarts and old standards, which chicken sandwich rules them all? CivicScience surveyed thousands of Americans in mid- to late October to find out.
First, we’ll look at which chicken sandwich brands have the biggest reach — that is, which ones have been eaten by the highest percentage of people. Then, we’ll dive into which ones Americans like the best.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Chick-fil-A beat out McDonald’s for the No. 1 spot on the list above, though it was close. The rest of the ‘reach’ rankings came in more or less as expected, with regional chains like Jack in the Box, Culver’s, and Church’s bringing up the rear.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the official Chicken Wars rankings.
It’s no surprise that Chick-fil-A and Popeyes, two chicken-centric restaurants, took the top two spots. Wendy’s performed the best out of all non-chicken specialty restaurants, even holding a slight edge over KFC. But beyond the top four, there was a steep drop in favorability.
Chick-fil-A Lovers vs. Popeyes Lovers
Popeyes chicken sandwich fans are more likely to be male than Chick-fil-A diehards. But both lean more male than the general population.
Chick-fil-A fans are less likely to live in urban areas and more likely to live in suburbs compared with Popeyes fans.
And, among adults only (ages 18+), Chick-fil-A customers are substantially more likely to be Republican compared with Popeyes customers, who are closer to being politically representative of the general U.S. population.
According to CivicScience data, Chick-fil-A is clearly winning the chicken wars right now. With both the broadest reach and the highest favorability, the chicken champions may seem untouchable – but you never know when a new contender might challenge for the title.