Threatened by love for Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s franchisees push for better chicken sandwich

The chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A. |

Threatened by the increasing demand and love American consumers have for Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, McDonald’s U.S. franchisees are gearing up to invest in a chicken sandwich that will outdo the offering of the Christian fast food giant.

In an email addressed to fellow operators Wednesday, the National Owners Association formed last year explained that despite pushing discounts and expensive high-tech store renovations, restaurants are still losing guest counts.

“Dollar Drinks is the last aspect of D123 [dollar menu] that must be eliminated from OPNAD's [Operator's National Advertising's] calendar. It is not working for the majority of the US,” the new NOA board said. “We must find more sustainable growth opportunities. Price is not the answer, especially in today’s economic environment.”

The board further explained that while Americans like the company’s signature Quarter Pounder sandwich they weren’t up to scratch in delivering one of the favorite things McDonald’s customers like – a good chicken sandwich.

Chicken sandwich
The Southern-style chicken McDonald's franchisees want to make a staple at US restaurants. |

“A favorite, that our customers want, is a chicken sandwich. Unfortunately, they have to go to Chick Fil A for it. Chick Fil A’s results demonstrate the power of chicken. Yes, we have great Chicken Mcnuggets and our McChicken is a very good product. But we do not compete in the premium chicken sandwich category, either grilled or crispy,” the NOA said. “Our US Southeast markets’ results should concern everyone. You may not have Chick Fil A’s in your market or to the degree they have them in the southeast, but they are coming. And they don’t discount.”

The board then suggested how McDonald’s could work to develop a chicken sandwich that can rival or exceed the power of the Chick-fil-A product.

“A Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s should be our top priority. JFK called for a man on the moon, our call should be a category leading chicken sandwich. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We didn’t invent the drive thru, we perfected it. Chick Fil A invented the Chicken Sandwich, but we can do one better,” the group insisted.

“Our Southern Style Chicken sandwich was very close to category leading. It needs some tweaks. We need to serve it in a foil bag and we need to butter the bun, but the patty recipe was excellent. It can be served in our existing kitchens within our existing service times (even faster). We should test it in the south and if successful, we should put it on OPNAD as soon as possible. If it’s not, then in Fred’s words ‘someone please come up with a world class Chicken Sandwich!!’” they urged.

Chick-fil-A was recently named America’s favorite fast-food restaurant for the fourth year in a row by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

In February, the business research group Technomic, Inc. ranked Chick-fil-A No. 5 among the top 500 restaurant chains in the United States, with U.S. sales estimated above $10 billion.

“The limited-service chicken category continues to be a pacesetter for growth, led by strong years from not only Chick-fil-A, but also Wingstop and Raising Cane’s,” said Technomic.

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