Bear in mind the nice previous days when quick meals menus in all places had been getting pelted with rooster sandwiches? We struggled to maintain up with all the brand new choices, conducting many style checks, and on the finish of 2021, we concluded we’d wish to see fewer of them hit the market in 2022. Nonetheless, it’s now 2023, and for those who’ve observed, there’s been no finish in sight to the rooster sandwich parade. However we’ve observed a brand new microtrend within the rooster sandwich panorama currently: as quick meals chains are altering their angle of assault, they’ve strayed away from simplicity and began including extra toppings.
New toppings, identical sandwich
Take, for instance, Wendy’s Italian Mozzarella Hen sandwich, which continues to be at present on the menu nationwide. Whereas the factor is decked out with a fried mozzarella patty, a slice of mozzarella, and marinara, it’s all on high of the identical fried rooster breasts that kind the core of its primary Unique Hen Sandwich. It’s nearly just like the poultry’s hiding out amongst all these equipment.
Burger King debuted its personal Italian Royal Crispy Hen Sandwich inside weeks of Wendy’s launch; this providing had an analogous construct to Wendy’s, sans the distinctive mozzarella patty. With out the additional pizzaz of the fried cheese layer, it fell fairly flat.
Notably, Popeyes—the sandwich purveyor that kicked off the entire sandwich battle within the first place—appears to be pushing the boundaries of the rooster sandwich another way. Moderately than slather a bunch of stuff atop its present rooster fillets, the chain has debuted the Blackened Hen Sandwich, which is closely seasoned and never breaded in any respect. Taste is being concentrated within the poultry, quite than every part that surrounds it.
Which new rooster sandwiches are on the horizon?
Burger King is first up with a brand new spherical of rooster sandwiches to kick off the brand new yr. These are all within the Unique Hen Sandwich format, which is BK’s title for the rectangular rooster sandwiches formed extra like a sub. Notably, the latest one is Mexican impressed:
Mexican Unique Hen Sandwich: Topped with ghost pepper cheese and crispy-fried jalapeños on a sesame seed bun
Italian Unique Hen Sandwich: Launched beforehand, this one is topped with marinara sauce and melted Mozzarella cheese
American Unique Hen Sandwich: Topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise
As you possibly can see, it’s the identical sandwich with some spiffy new outfits, although the “Mexican” nature of the latest launch appears tenuous at greatest; ghost pepper cheese doesn’t precisely scream “Mexican delicacies” to me. Whether or not or not a brand new set of toppings will revive a stalwart sandwich is but to be seen, however we don’t suppose the rooster sandwich competitors is over—not by an extended shot.
Hen sandwiches are nonetheless good for enterprise
On its face, the hyping of rooster sandwiches on each quick meals menu is sensible: Should you’re not within the temper for a burger, chances are high you might be satisfied to achieve for one thing with rooster in it, whether or not a field of nuggets or a sandwich or some Hen Fries. However behind the scenes, there’s an even bigger purpose why rooster is being pushed so aggressively.
Poultry costs are at present on a downward pattern, which means quick meals giants are primed to make a ton of cash through wider revenue margin, even when gross sales are common. Clearly, some chains will goal for the celebrities with their new choices, however even when not all of the debuts are winners, a shiny new launch is however assured to make some good cash. Because of TikTok and YouTube, our curiosity about new menu gadgets has by no means been extra primed to end in a visit to the drive-thru.
Whereas we’re shocked—and a little bit drained—by the continued momentum behind the trade’s push towards rooster sandwiches, the actual fact is that rooster sandwiches are good for enterprise. We anticipate to see extra of them this yr, just a bit extra gussied up. However don’t hope for too many true improvements below the hood.
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