Since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants have generally streamlined their menus to increase efficiency during challenging times. McDonald’s is bucking that trend to start 2021 by adding three new chicken sandwiches to its lineup.
Since Popeye’s created a social media sensation in 2019 with its chicken sandwich, chicken increasingly appears to be what draws customers to fast-food restaurants. Though the pandemic is still raging, McDonald’s appears to be preparing for its end while offering up more “comfort food” to help customers get through it.
Linda VanGosen, McDonald’s vice president of menu innovation, said the new menu items are a response to customer feedback.
“We’re confident all chicken fans – from traditionalists to spice enthusiasts – will discover a new menu favorite they’ll come back for time and time again,” she said.
While it’s basically one chicken sandwich, McDonald’s says it will be available in three versions at participating locations starting Feb. 24. The three sandwiches are:
Crispy chicken sandwich
Spicy chicken sandwich, with spicy pepper sauce
Deluxe chicken sandwich, with lettuce, tomato, and mayo
Better chicken sandwich part of the strategy
McDonald’s has actually regained some lost ground during the pandemic, thanks to its existing drive-thru operation and quick pivot to delivery. In 2019, the company told shareholders that it needed a better chicken sandwich to win back customers.
Indeed, the entire industry appears to be in hot pursuit of chicken leader Chick-Fil-A and 2019’s sensation Popeye’s. In October, Wendy’s got a head start on McDonald’s with the rollout of its Classic Chicken Sandwich, with what it said was an improved chicken fillet.
In fact, Wendy’s announced that chicken upgrade would go into its complete line of chicken menu items. Meanwhile, KFC is said to be test marketing a new, premium chicken sandwich.