McDonald's is testing a chicken sandwich

Key Points
  • McDonald's is testing the Crispy Chicken Sandwich in two markets.
  • McDonald's franchisees have asked for a Southern-style chicken sandwich as Chick-fil-A's threat to their business continues to grow.
  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's own take on the chicken sandwich helped its same-store sales surge 10% during the third quarter.
McDonald's teases chicken sandwich to compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeye's.
Source: McDonald's

McDonald's is entering the chicken sandwich wars.

The chain is testing a Crispy Chicken Sandwich in Houston and Knoxville, Tennessee. The sandwich features a fried chicken filet served on a buttery potato roll, topped with butter and pickles. A deluxe version also includes tomatoes, lettuce and mayo.

The chain on Sunday teased the test, which will run from Dec. 2 through Jan. 26, according to a McDonald's spokesperson.

"Houston. Knoxville. Lunch tomorrow? No beef," the fast-food giant tweeted.


McDonald's franchisees have asked for a Southern-style chicken sandwich as Chick-fil-A's threat to their business grows. The board of the National Owners Association, an independent franchisee group, wrote in an email in July that a chicken sandwich should be their top priority.

Popeyes launched a chicken sandwich — and then it sold out

McDonald's carries Chicken McNuggets and the McChicken sandwich. This fall, it debuted the Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a limited-time offer that launched to little fanfare. But the Chicago-based chain has not tested anything similar to Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich since 2018, when it tested the Ultimate Chicken Sandwich in more than 160 locations in Washington state.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, has seen great success with its own take on the chicken sandwich. After selling out of the new item in a little more than two weeks in August, the sandwich returned in early November. Thanks to the launch of the sandwich, Popeyes had its best quarter in nearly two decades, reporting U.S. same-store sales growth of more than 10%.

Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich has helped the chain become the nation's third-largest restaurant chain by sales, trailing only McDonald's and Starbucks. McDonald's has roughly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S., while Chick-fil-A operated 1,989 stand-alone restaurants and 363 "licensed units," which are the nontraditional stadium, amusement park and university locations, by the end of 2018.

The rise of Chick-fil-A