McDonald's sees sales boost from chicken sandwich amid COVID-19 rebound

Same-store sales jumped 13.6% for first quarter, up from 2020, while global same-store sales increased 7.5%

Chicken sandwiches, flashy celebrity food promotions and a surge in takeout stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic are fueling earnings for McDonald's in a big way. 

An uptick in drive-thru demand with indoor dining either closed or limited during the pandemic, coupled with celebrity meal promotions from the likes of Travis Scott and J Balvin and the hotly anticipated rollout of the chain’s new crispy chicken sandwich earlier this year, all contributed to sales spiking, the fast-food giant made clear in its earnings report Thursday. 

McDonald's chicken capsule

McDonald's launched its chicken sandwich with a capsule collection earlier this year.  (iStock)

McDonald's reported $5.1 billion in sales for the first quarter ended March 31, up 9% from last year. Same-store sales jumped 13.6% for the first quarter, up from 2020, while global same-store sales increased 7.5%. 


"We're maximizing our marketing in a culturally relevant way, committed to great-tasting customer favorites on our core menu and doubling down on digital, delivery and drive-thru to create a faster and easier customer experience," Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski said in a statement. 

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And a part of that seems to be from the hype surrounding the chicken sandwich. McDonald's released its new iteration of the crispy sandwich in February made with a chicken filet, pickles and spicy pepper sauce served on a potato bun, giving customers the option to order it crispy, spicy or deluxe. 


The crispy chicken sandwich has been a fast-food phenomenon ever since Popeyes nearly broke the internet with its new chicken sandwich offering two years ago. Since then, fast-food chains such as Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A and KFC have experimented with new takes on the fan favorite.