Hands down, Popeyes chicken sandwich beats Chick-fil-a’s original chicken sandwich in flavor, but there’s more to consider than just a sandwich.
A Little Background
On Saturday Hun and I decided to throw ourselves into the latest social media debate by comparing Chick-fil-a’s chicken sandwich to Popeyes chicken sandwich. We go to Chick-fil-a on a bi-weekly basis and partake in a delightful chicken sandwich. But on this Saturday a new chicken sandwich contender entered the arena – Popeyes classic chicken sandwich that comes in regular (classic) and spicy.
Now, we aren’t new to Popeyes. As a matter of fact, I believe Popeyes has the best fast food fried chicken around. Period. It has more flavor than KFC, less greasy than Church’s, more accessible than any Nashville hot chicken restaurants, and crunchier than Royal Farms. Because of this, I had high-hopes for their new chicken sandwich. I believed it would taste just like their delicious chicken, only with a bun. So which sandwich won the social media debate? What more is there to consider than the flavor of the sandwich? Here’s the full story.
My Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Experience
We arrived at the drive-thru at 2:27pm to a line of over 10 cars. Each car patiently waited to taste the famous Popeyes chicken sandwich. Did we expect to wait? Yes, a for a little while. But did we expect to wait forever? no. We inched forward for the next 20 minutes, being particularly careful that no other cars attempted to cut in line.
As we waited, we watched countless chicken aficionados try their luck at placing a walk-in order. The lines were just as long indoors as they were outdoors and just like the drive-thru, many entered but few came out. Then it was our turn to order. at the drive-thru window. There are two Popeyes chicken sandwiches available: Classic and spicy. Hun placed our order through a muffled receiver. After a few haphazard communication issues, we *believed* the order was correct and, guess what, we waited again.
Finally, we reached the window at 3:03pm. A large bag filled with sandwiches, fries, and two small beverages popped out of the window and into our car. Onward to our home!
How much do the Popeyes chicken sandwiches cost? The sandwich itself was $3.99, but the combo is $7.89+tax, so we spent approximately $16.73 for the two meals. The price seems to be on par with most fast food meals in the area, although on the slightly higher-priced side. Then again, I tend to order from the kids menu (don’t judge me!) The great thing about Popeyes is if you fill out a survey within two days of your visit, you can earn two free pieces of chicken. Hot diggity dang!
Once home we unwrapped the sandwich. The items were clearly wrapped in paper, shoved in a heat-containing foil-lined bag, then shoved again in the larger plastic bag.
I chose cajun fries as my side item for this meal. As you can see, there’s a small grease-window forming on the outside of the bag. Some people may be disgusted, others may be excited because you know the greasy bag will hold something delicious. Unfortunately for me, the fries were stale and lightly cold. Not the best first impression in the world. Honestly, 5 Guys has amazing cajun fries so next time I might stick with my tried and true: red beans and rice.
So the fries were a bust, but what about the other bag? The packaging left nothing to the imagination, but what about the sandwich itself? The chicken sandwich came wrapped in white paper inside the foul-lined bag. Immediately I could see the brioche bun shining on the outside of an evenly-flattened breaded fried chicken breast.
Like a vintage care enthusiast, I couldn’t wait to see what was under the hood of the Popeyes chicken sandwich. As I peeled back the glistening top bun, I quickly noticed there was nothing fancy here…just a bun, mayonnaise, and chicken. That’s it.
Now it was time for a taste test. My first bite was better than expected. I thought it would just be like a piece of regular fried chicken sans bones and it was, but the bun offered a sweet twist. The brioche bun carried a hint of sweetness to it an I was pleasantly surprised. Further, the contrast of the soft, sweet bun against the savory crunch of the fried chicken breading made my taste-buds dance! Yes! Dance your balanced dance, puppets!
No lie, the flavor was ABSOLUTELY there! I can’t handle spice, but when compared to the flavor of the original Chick-fil-a sandwich, Popeyes chicken sandwich wins! Savory, sweet, crunchy, soft, well-seasoned with creole spice, juicy, warm…omg, I couldn’t put this thing down! I even dipped the sandwich in ranch dressing as I do my Chick-fil-a sandwiches and oh boy, you talk about great!
So will I return for the sandwich? Probably not.
Wait, what? I thought you liked it!
I do, and the sandwich is great.
Then what’s the problem?
The experience is the problem. Almost 40 minutes in line, a hard-working yet more than overwhelmed drive-thru attendant, basic service, sub-par fries and THEN a great sandwich does not equal to a great, memorable experience in my book. I will return periodically for the chicken, but not the sandwich once the hype boils down. Although tasty, it’s vivid taste does not cleanse the service pallet.
What’s great about the Chick-fil-a sandwich is not just the sandwich, but the customer experience. I return to Chick-fil-a time and time again because their service is excellent, the staff is more than friendly and gracious, and I know I can consistently expect high-quality food time almost every time I visit. In addition, I understand the lines were insane and the Popeyes staffed worked really hard to do their job. I acknowledge the stress the fast-food industry places on it’s workers. And I also acknowledge some establishments have better support structures than others, which is where Chick-fil-a wins. I love Popeyes food, including the new Popeyes chicken sandwich, don’t get me wrong, but reliable, efficient, friendly service AND a great product will keep me connected on a bi-weekly basis.
So does experience matter, or is flavor the only factor? Leave your thoughts below.
Antoinette | Frolic & Courage