It’s safe to say that Popeyes’ introduction of chicken sandwiches this month went well. Maybe too well.
Demand for the sandwich has been so strong this week that locations across the country have started running out of the product, according to operators and customer accounts on social media.
Went 3 different Popeyes and they all were sold out....shit is really crazy.— Zudo🕷(@KeapTheChange) August 22, 2019
Some customers encountered signs:
Others even went to Chick-fil-A:
A Popeyes location in a Minneapolis suburb Thursday was out of chicken sandwiches, despite a long line of cars in the drive-thru and a clearly disappointed group of customers inside.
Even entire markets were out of the sandwich. Operators told Restaurant Business that they didn’t have enough buns because of unexpectedly strong sales.
That suggests the company wasn’t quite ready for the onslaught of demand this week following a Twitter war that erupted between the Miami-based chain and Chick-fil-A and then engulfed numerous other brands and much of the social media universe. “Very surprising,” one operator said.
Popeyes poked its rival Monday, a week after the sandwich’s introduction to glowing commentary, such as one decrying that the sandwich is here “to save America.”
The back-and-forth between restaurant brands over Twitter and other social media sources generated considerable attention. That helped create demand for Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich as customers were curious about the product.
The result was a new product launch as successful as any the industry has seen in years.
Google searches for “Popeyes” and “chicken sandwich” have skyrocketed in recent weeks, as have Twitter mentions for the chain, according to financial services site Sentieo. There were reports of long lines, too, at some locations.
And then the restaurants began running out of bread, and so customers curious were required to wait.
Popeyes representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
The lack of supply could represent a missed opportunity for the chain to impress new customers. Nearly two years ago, McDonald’s faced a similar problem when its new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders sold far more than the company’s projections and the restaurants ran out of supply.
The company restocked its shelves more than a month later, but by that time enthusiasm had waned, and McDonald’s was never able to recapture the initial interest.