Popeyes: Chicken sandwiches are in, 2020 is out

A full-page ad for Popeyes’ “At least we still have The Sandwich” campaign
A full-page ad for Popeyes’ “At least we still have The Sandwich” campaign
Image: Popeyes

Anyone remember what you were up to this week last year? We remember what we were doing: tasting the Popeyes chicken sandwich for the first time. Takeout founder Kevin Pang deemed the sandwich/cultural phenomenon superior to the widely beloved Chick-fil-A equivalent, praising it for achieving “a spiciness level that most Louisiana food aficionados could at least respect.” Rare in the fast food world, to be sure.

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The sandwich is celebrating one year of going national and rippling across American culture in seismic fashion. A press release emailed to The Takeout has provided some interesting factoids about this fast food item’s utter dominance:

  • Popeyes sold 203 million chicken sandwiches in the past year
  • 405 million pickles have been used on chicken sandwiches since the launch
  • Texas sold the most chicken sandwiches in the past 12 months
  • The most sandwiches sold by one store in one day was 3,582 sandwiches on November 3, 2019
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From where we’re sitting in August 2020, in many ways August 2019 feels positively quaint. Popeyes, hoping to spur us all to reflect fondly on yesteryear, has launched a new campaign: “At least we still have The Sandwich.” And, according to a press release, it also hopes that we look ahead to the future, skipping over the disastrous present. So it has decided to kick off the Times Square Ball Drop 135 days/19 weeks/4.5 months early in a “much-needed countdown to 2021.”

Popeyes’ Times Square countdown to 2021
Popeyes’ Times Square countdown to 2021
Image: Popeyes

The countdown begins today in Times Square—and Popeyes is making customers aware of it with a full-page ad in the New York Times. But a countdown clock that inches ever closer to the end of 2020 might have the unintended effect of making the year feel much, much longer. And if that’s the case, well... all the more time to enjoy some fried chicken on a bun.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

After trying several times and being told “Don’t have ‘em yet” and “Just sold the last one a half-hour ago,” I finally got one of those. In fact I went back the next day and had a second one, so I’ve tried both the regular one and the spicy one. The regular one was quite good. The spicy one was OK, but there was so much hot sauce on it that for the first bite I couldn’t taste the chicken at all. I wiped off most of the hot sauce with paper napkins - very messy - and then it was good.