Popeyes introduces its latest riff on the fried chicken sandwich

The chain that ignited the chicken sandwich wars is bringing on reinforcements, bolstering the battle with a new sauce and a hip-hop anthem.
chicken sandwich
The Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Popeyes features a new sauce and its own hip-hop anthem. | Photo courtesy of Popeyes.

Popeyes’ Golden BBQ Chicken Sandwich makes its debut Tuesday, aimed squarely at lunch customers.

This latest riff on the chicken chain’s iconic sandwich features Popeyes signature buttermilk-battered chicken breast topped with the new Golden BBQ sauce and barrel-cured pickles on a toasted brioche bun. Guests can customize by adding a slice of Havarti cheese and/or applewood smoked bacon.

Along with the new sandwich, Popeyes is launching a Lunch Money FUNds promotion—dropping lunch money into rewards accounts for guests to score a free chicken sandwich and put the “FUN” back into lunch.

To make it even more fun, the Miami, Florida-based brand tapped SaxKixAve, a New Orleans hip-hop duo to create a “Bring Back Lunch” anthem. The duo is made up of rapper Alfred Banks and saxophonist Albert Allenback, both rooted in the same Louisiana heritage as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Their anthem is currently playing on TikTok as an antidote to “sad lunch” and to promote the free sandwich deal.

Here’s a sneak preview:

When Popeyes launched its original fried chicken sandwich in late 2019, the item generated a record-breaking 40% same-store sales gain in that quarter. Other fast-food chains understandably wanted a piece of the action and soon KFC, Wendy’s, McDonald’s and dozens more entered the fray with their own fried chicken sandwiches. Wingstop pulled out all stops in Fall, 2022, launching a version in 12 flavor variations and spiking system sales 27%. And the riffs continue.

Popeyes latest take is smothered in a new sweet and tangy sauce, but the other components remain the same. Nevertheless, the hook is different, tied into lunch and loyalty. Popeyes Rewards members can earn 600 bonus points in Lunch Money FUNds—enough for a free chicken sandwich with any $10 minimum purchase.

The deal and the promotion give Popeyes some fresh ammunition in today’s competitive battleground, where Popeyes and Wingstop are increasingly going head-to-head over chicken sandwiches and more recently, chicken wings, as RB editor in chief Jonathan Maze recently pointed out. The Wingstop-Popeyes competition will be an interesting one to watch this year, said Maze.

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