Popeyes picked up valuable earned media from two NFL players and customers cheered the return of the Louisiana-based chain's chicken sandwich Sunday, two months after product shortages took the item off the menu.
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The social media buzz sent Popeyes to the top of Twitter's Trending list in the U.S. and cemented its place as a big player in the new chicken wars.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefan Diggs fashioned a pair of custom cleats to look like a Popeyes chicken sandwich advertisement in honor of the sandwich's long-awaited return.
Houston Texans quarterback also offered some free publicity.
"The eye is great. I'll tell you the key, it was Popeyes' spicy chicken sandwich that I ate this week," Deshaun Watson told a sideline reporter when asked about his injured eye.
The return of the Popeyes chicken sandwich fell on Sunday, the one day of the week when rival Chick-fil-A is closed.
The chain had to find suppliers for the sandwich's brioche bun and small chicken breast and hire 400 new employees, with at least two new staff members per franchise dedicated specifically to meeting the chicken sandwich demand.
"Our franchisees have worked to increase staffing," Restaurant Brands International Inc, Popeyes' parent company told Bloomberg prior to the sandwich's return. "We have been working diligently to bring the sandwich back to our restaurants soon, as we know our guests are anxiously anticipating its return."