Chili's joins chicken sandwich wars with 'special sauce'

Chili’s competing with McDonald's, Burger King, Popeyes

Chili’s is the latest restaurant to enter the chicken sandwich wars with a savory secret weapon – special sauce. 

The Dallas-based restaurant chain, known for its fajitas and baby back ribs, is now adding a chicken sandwich to the menu, competing with a slew of fast-food chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, Popeye’s and KFC. And it’s been a year in the making. 

Chili’s is the latest restaurant to enter the chicken sandwich wars with a savory secret weapon – special sauce. (Chili's) 

Chili’s Chicken Sandwich features a hand-battered, hand-breaded fried chicken filet served with its new "secret sauce" and topped with lettuce and tomato served on a buttered, toasted brioche bun. The sandwich will only be available between June 1 and June 30. 

"We didn't want to create just another chicken sandwich. We're all about food perfection and wanted to create the best chicken sandwich. And that takes time," Michael Breed, vice president of marketing at Chili's, said in a statement. "We've been testing a chicken sandwich and our new Secret Sauce for over a year to ensure we give our Guests the perfect bite — a bite that's full of flavor and makes you want another bite and another." 

BURGER KING'S CHICKEN SANDWICH LAUNCHES NATIONALLY IN JUNE 

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The launch comes on the heels of Burger King’s newly introduced Ch’King sandwich, which also comes hand-breaded and with the chain’s signature sauce. 

The chicken sandwich has taken the restaurant industry by storm since 2019, when Popeyes began selling its iteration of the fried chicken sandwich. It sparked a viral chicken sandwich war on social media with chains like Chick-fil-A, KFC, McDonald’s and Wendy’s competing with similar renditions of the menu item. The key components on the varieties at KFC, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A seem to be crispy, breaded chicken, pickles and a lightly toasted potato bun. 

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And as many restaurants ramp up digital offerings and promotions, Chili’s is letting its My Chili’s Rewards members order the chicken sandwich to-go through its app. 

Chili's is owned by Brinker International.