Could McDonald’s be the next fast-food chain to seek viral success for its chicken?
The analysts said they believe McDonald’s is testing versions of its chicken sandwich for a rollout in 2020 that “will better compete on quality and ideally win on speed, value and convenience," according to the report. Eric Gonzalez of KeyBanc Capital Markets wrote that McDonald’s “saw increased competitive pressure in chicken, particularly in mid-August."
August is when Wendy’s brought back its spicy chicken nuggets in response to a viral tweet by Chance the Rapper earlier in the year. It’s also when Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen launched its tremendously popular chicken sandwich, which sold out within two weeks after the chain got into a Twitter feud with Chick-fil-A.
Popeye's sandwich was a huge hit and about 5 percent of its customers during the last two weeks of August were new to the chain, according to analytics firm Second Measure. And even though Popeyes temporarily ran out of the sandwiches, its sales were still higher than average.
Popeyes is planning to bring the hit sandwich back in November, and 150-location franchisee Sun Holdings said it's planning to hire 400 more workers to deal with the crowds, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s had walked back its chicken offerings during late-night hours since April. The chain’s simplified night menu includes staples like Big Macs and Quarter Pounders, but its only chicken product is McNuggets. Other chicken dishes like salads, sandwiches and wraps are unavailable overnight.
McDonald’s reported this week that its profits fell 4 percent compared to a year ago, to $1.6 billion. But revenue was up 1 percent to $5.43 billion.
Breakfast and burgers were bright spots for McDonald’s business for the quarter. However, the KeyBanc analysts expect McDonald’s will also face more competition for breakfast, as Wendy’s is also preparing to roll out an 18-item breakfast menu next year.
FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.