Now that the dust from the biggest chicken sandwich debate in recent memory has settled, it’s time to take a look back and examine what actually happened—and who won.
In order to do this, we must first reflect on how this how debate started.
On August 12, fried chicken-focused fast food chain Popeyes added a new item to their menu: a simple chicken sandwich. At first, this just seemed like any other fast food chain promoting a new addition to their menu. We see it all the time: McDonald’s Shamrock shakes, Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets, or Taco Bell’s breakfast items. These chains are no strangers to mixing it up.
For Popeyes, this seemed like a logical addition to their menu—it makes sense that a chain known for its chicken would offer a chicken sandwich. That is, of course, until Chick-fil-A sent out the mother of all subtweets a week after the sandwich was released.
Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the ❤️ for the original. pic.twitter.com/qBAIIxZx5v
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) August 19, 2019
As someone who enjoys seeing a good subtweet on my timeline, I have to tip my hat to Chick-fil-A. This has all the qualities of a dagger subtweet: subtle enough to seem like standard content, but passive-aggressive enough to get your message across. Chick-fil-A came to this fight with a “If you come at the king you best not miss” attitude, and rightfully so. Whether you support their misguided corporate beliefs or not, they have elite fast food chicken.
Popeyes was not going to take this jab sitting down. It didn’t take long for the relatively tame Popeyes social team to respond with a tweet that ignited true chaos:
… y’all good? https://t.co/lPaTFXfnyP
— Popeyes (@Popeyes) August 19, 2019
This is what I call a top-shelf clap back. It’s rare for the party responding to a subtweet to end up looking good, but Popeyes managed this feat with a simple, yet sassy “…ya’ll good?”
From there, as it so often does, the internet stepped in and sparked a debate that spanned across multiple platforms and media outlets. People all across the country rushed to their local Chick-fil-A and Popeyes establishments to buy both sandwiches in order to form their opinions. Naturally, that turned into a meme war.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorite posts that resulted from the frenzy:
Me enjoying my Popeyes chicken sandwich with Chic Fil A sauce pic.twitter.com/UsI8hDCqPk
— MR. RAGER (@Chris2Chill) August 19, 2019
— X (@XLNB) August 19, 2019
— actioncookbook (@actioncookbook) August 19, 2019
Popeyes and Bojangles thinking they are on the same level as chick-fil-a's chicken sandwich pic.twitter.com/j1RYp8gs1G
— LoveDoctor (@Hitch_Atl) August 20, 2019
To me, it seemed like all of the best/funniest memes came in support of Popeyes and the addition of their chicken sandwich, so I’m giving them the edge in this internet battle.
In reality, both fast food chains benefitted greatly from this “controversy” as they both gained millions of free media impressions. Not to mention that in order for people to properly weigh in on this debate, they needed to purchase sandwiches from both restaurants. (Editor’s note: Let’s not forget that on August 27, Popeyes announced that they literally sold out of their chicken sandwiches due to the rush to try them. As of this publish date, September 11, they are still out.)
Congrats on the win, Popeyes! Now, please don’t turn into Wendy’s and feel like you have chime in with your two cents on everything.
Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich. pic.twitter.com/4v9RJFgy0T
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) August 19, 2019