Burger King joins chicken sandwich wars with hand-breaded Ch’King

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Why did Burger King cross the road? To get to some of that chicken money.

As earlier reported back in February, Burger King is ready to waddle its way into the hefty breaded chicken sandwich craze.

The not-exactly-revolutionary idea of a good chicken sandwich has nonetheless taken over the fast food industry the last few years, and Burger King has finally decided if you can’t beat ‘em, pluck ‘em.

The “Hand Breaded Ch’King” is the latest offering for fried fowl fans. Since its fellow Restaurant Brands International chain, Popeyes, kicked off the trend back in the summer of 2019, Burger King must’ve developed some sibling rivalry, as, according to Today, Popeyes has reported double-digit sales growth in that time span.

Admittedly, chicken is Popeyes’ thing. But as the cool tres 1970s logo of the Ch’King reminds us, Burger King might be late to the chicken sandwich party, but they’ve been doing this fast food thing for a while now, so you can trust this one’s gonna be good.

The hook here is that each sandwich actually will be breaded by hand, something that takes a bit more effort and should imply fresher quality than the myriad of other recent cluckin’ sandwich offerings from McDonald’s, KFC, et al.

Ellie Doty, chief marketing officer of Burger King North America, said the chain has been working on the recipe for two years, agan showing that they aren’t just jumping on a bandwagon. Every Burger King that offers it has had to create a breading station.

Overall, Burger King seems to be trying to up its game. The recent retro logo change and an embrace of the non-meat based burger micro-trend, the “Impossible Whopper,” shows the franchise has been making innovation a goal -- not always a feature of fast food, an industry that relies on familiarity. Well, maybe not so much anymore, and that’s a good thing for consumer choice.

Recent shortages in chicken may cause alarm for enthusiasts. But according to Doty, Burger King devotees need not fret.

“We also took the time to make sure that we have a very robust supply chain that is set up for the main scenario that we’re predicting, as well as others that could happen,” Doty explained.

Comparatively speaking, Restaurant Brands International fast food chains seem to be bouncing as the pandemic slows, as their shares have risen 10% this year.

This isn't Burger King's only foray into chicken. In addition to multiple poultry items already on its menu, this week the chain announced it would bring back a fan-favorite to its menu — crown-shaped chicken nuggets that haven't been available at the restaurant in over a decade.

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