Bob Bestler

The simple reason why Chick-fil-A wins over Popeyes in chicken sandwich war

I’ve never visited a Popeyes restaurant, never even thought about a Popeyes restaurant.

All I knew until a couple weeks ago was that it apparently was named, for some odd reason, after a cartoon sailor man who was what he was.

Since 1972, Popeyes has specialized in fast-food meals and has been very successful at it.

Last month, it added a chicken sandwich to its menu, hoping to steal customers from Chick-fil-a, which pretty much owns the market for chicken sandwiches.

Within days, as best as I can figure, someone said on social media that Popeyes was better than Chick-fil-A — and all heck broke loose.

For two weeks, Popeyes employees devoted hours of overtime to keep up with demand as lines formed at stores around the country.

Then Popeyes ran out of chicken for its new sandwich and the hen house went wild.

First, a guy in Tennessee filed suit against Popeyes, charging it with false advertising for saying it had a chicken sandwich when it did not. He complained that it had cost him time and money to get to Popeyes for a sandwich that did not exist.

And last week, a group of customers in Houston pulled a gun on employees when they said they had no chicken sandwich. Talk about a feeding frenzy. Police are still looking for them.

Well, I’ve never had a Popeyes but I have been a longtime Chick-fil-A fan. I stayed away for a while in protest over the CEO’s publicized views on the LBGT community, but eventually went back. I really haven’t protested anything since Vietnam.

Someone estimated that the short-lived chicken-sandwich war had given Popeyes about $23 million in free publicity.

That may not be far off. I plan to try it myself sometime and a check of the internet found a Popeyes in Myrtle Beach and one in Conway. Who knew?

I also learned that Popeyes began in New Orleans in 1972 and is now headquartered in Miami, calling itself Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Popeyes has no apostrophe and, lo and behold, it was named not for the spinach-eating sailor man but, again for some odd reason, for Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the Gene Hackman character in “French Connection.”

Since the war began, food critics across the country have been trying to judge the wonderfulness of Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A, but I think we can guess the winner.

It’s the one that can still has a chicken sandwich to sell.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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