Popeyes to test chicken sandwich in two cities next month

Popeyes is gearing up to launch the chicken sandwich at locations across the country in September. (Yahoo Finance/David Foster)

Starting next month, Canadians in two select cities will be able to finally get their hands on one of the most popular chicken sandwiches in North America.

Duncan Fulton, the chief corporate officer of Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International, confirmed on Friday that the wildly popular chicken sandwich will be tested in two markets in June. While he did not disclose which cities will be testing the sandwich, or exact launch dates, he said one will be in southwestern Ontario and the other in Alberta, with several locations in each city offering it to start. The plan is to launch the sandwich at locations across the country in September.

“We saw in the U.S. the kind of reaction we got when we launched the sandwich. We just want to make sure that operationally we’re ready to execute and handle that, and then are good to go for September,” Fulton said.

The launch of the chicken sandwich caused a frenzy in the United States last year. The company had anticipated its supply for the sandwich would last three months, but it was so popular it sold out in just two weeks. Popeyes America’s president Felipe Athayde previously told Yahoo Finance that it was the biggest launch in the company’s history, calling it “the iPhone of chicken sandwiches.”

The sandwich features a buttered brioche bun, cajun-inspired mayonnaise, a crispy friend chicken filet and naturally-brined pickles.

The ingredients may seem simple, but Fulton insists it’s worth the hype.

“I once was waiting on a plane in Miami and had the spicy version and the regular version. As I was sitting there, people kept asking me, ‘Where did you get that?’” Fulton said.

“I am not saying this because I work for the company. It is literally the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had.”

Popeyes has been RBI’s most resilient brand through the COVID-19 pandemic, with comparable sales surging while both Burger King and Tim Hortons post declines. As of the third week of May, Popeyes posted comparable sales jump in the low forties, compared to flat sales in March. Burger King’s sales were down in the mid-single digits, an improvement from the low-thirties seen in March. Tim Hortons sales are down in the mid-twenties, up from a drop of more than 40 per cent.

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