Although the intensity has cooled from the opening shots in 2019, you could argue the Chicken Sandwich Wars never really ended. (Yes, there’s a Wikipedia page for the phenomenon, which claims Popeyes called for a truce in July 2021.) The one-upmanship of every fast-food chain retooling their fried chicken sandwiches was an exciting time for chicken lovers – if some menu items were initially hard to track down. Some of the challengers (Burger King’s Ch’king and Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco) are no more, for now.
But with enough distance from the initial wave, CivicScience wanted to revisit its data on the Chicken Sandwich Wars to see if the preferences of U.S. adults have shifted at all since the end of 2021. With a few slight exceptions, they haven’t. Chick-fil-A still reigns supreme as the most positive chicken sandwich, by an even heftier margin than in 2021, with Popeyes and Wendy’s rounding out the top three.
New to the data, Taco Bell’s offering was the least popular at 22% positivity and 32% negativity. McDonald’s had the next-highest negative percentage at 22%, despite beating a few other chains in positivity.
While most fast-food diners rarely or never order chicken sandwiches, there’s a hefty contingency (22%) that orders them at least ‘most of the time’ (with 6% claiming to order chicken sandwiches ‘every time’ they get fast-food). But a vast majority of fast-food diners order chicken sandwiches at least on occasion.
The youngest fast-food fans are overwhelmingly more loyal to chicken sandwiches than their older counterparts. A stunning 18% of Gen Z fast-food diners claim to order chicken sandwiches ‘every time’ they get fast-food, with another 26% getting them ‘most of the time.’ Interest gradually wanes as you move up the age brackets, but Gen Z fast-food fans are nearly twice as likely as the next closest age group (25-34) to prefer chicken sandwiches over all other menu items. Even if the Chicken Sandwich Wars might be dormant compared to a few years ago, the youngest fast-food lovers could be itching for another revival.
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