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KFC Ups its Ante in Chicken Sandwich Wars

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Kentucky Fried Chicken, not known in the past for having one of the better chicken sandwiches on the market, is finally rolling out a new sandwich to compete in the ongoing chicken sandwich wars.

The new KFC Chicken Sandwich is now available in select markets (Chicago, Kansas City, Louisville, Portland, St. Louis, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and Tulsa) and will be available in all 4,000 KFC restaurants in the U.S. by the end of February. The sandwich was tested in Orlando last year.

KFC’s announcement comes just a few days after McDonald’s announced it would debut its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich nationwide on Feb. 24. Sonic and Shake Shack also recently rolled out new chicken sandwiches. The fast-food industry, especially operations that specialize in chicken, has been waiting for KFC to introduce a sandwich on par with Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich, which debuted in 2019 and is arguably the best sandwich on the market.

Louisville, Ky.-based KFC is calling its new offering “its best chicken sandwich ever.” KFC says its new sandwich contains a quarter-pound, all-white meat, double-breaded, Extra Crispy chicken breast filet on a toasted buttery brioche bun with thick pickles and a dose of mayo or spicy sauce. Each sandwich is made to order.

“We tested the new KFC Chicken Sandwich in Orlando last spring, and we nearly doubled our sales expectations, so we knew that we had a winner,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S. “Many customers hadn’t considered KFC as a part of the chicken sandwich conversation, but anyone who tastes this sandwich will know, without a doubt, that we’re playing to win.”

The KFC food innovation team said it tested each ingredient for the new sandwich to find the winning combination that perfectly complements KFC’s fried chicken. The team tested pickles with eight variations of thickness, and it collaborated with six different bakeries on more than 10 recipes in order to find the right bun. 

KFC said one Orlando customer called the sandwich “a life changer” during testing last spring.

The sandwich will cost $3.99 à la carte and $6.99 for a combo meal (sandwich, fries and medium drink).

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