- McDonald's will launch three chicken sandwiches on Feb. 24.
- In November, executives told investors that they would expand the company's chicken offerings because the category is growing faster than beef.
- Chick-fil-A has become one of McDonald's top rivals in recent years.
McDonald's will launch three chicken sandwiches in February as it tries to reach new customers with more poultry on its menu.
Starting Feb. 24, consumers will be able to buy the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Deluxe Chicken Sandwich.
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The fast-food giant began testing the Crispy Chicken Sandwich in Houston and Knoxville, Tennessee, nearly a year ago. The sandwich features a fried chicken filet served on a buttery potato roll, topped with butter and pickles. The spicy version comes with a spicy pepper sauce, while the deluxe sandwich comes with more toppings: shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes and mayo.
In November, executives told investors that they would boost the number of menu items with chicken because the category is growing faster than beef. While the new chicken sandwiches are only part of that strategy, Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA, said at the time that the new options will help consumers look at McDonald's differently.
In recent years, privately held Chick-fil-A has leapfrogged other restaurant chains to become the third-largest in the United States by sales, lagging behind only Starbucks and McDonald's. Its chicken-focused menu has attracted new consumers as it has expanded beyond its Southern base and heightened competition with McDonald's.
Other rivals have seen success challenging Chick-fil-A with a chicken sandwich, particularly Popeyes. Since rolling out the item nearly a year and a half ago, the Restaurant Brands International chain has reported double-digit same-store sales growth every quarter, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares of McDonald's, which has a market value of $162 billion, were down 2% in morning trading. The stock finished 2020 up 8%.