“We did not expect to run out of supply at all, so we’re super humbled by how well the product was received by our guests and our fans around the country,” Felipe Athayde, the president of Popeyes America, said at the event.
A two-month supply of the fried chicken sandwich vanished within two weeks, all thanks to viral social media posts and word of mouth -- especially among Black Twitter. Even the sandwich's long-awaited return has proven to be hectic, with lines of cars wrapped around drive-thrus and customers waiting upwards of two hours for a chance to try the popular food item. Of course, Popeyes also took aim at Chick-fil-A to market the sandwich, purposely resuming sales on National Sandwich Day, which also happened to fall on a Sunday this year. And, as well all know, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays.
“As a marketer, it’s really exciting to see the power of people talking to people,” Bruno Cardinali, the head of North America marketing at the chicken chain, said. “It basically did the whole job for us.”
Arguably too well. There have been reports of violence related to the chicken sandwich at some Popeyes locations, including a deadly stabbing attack in Maryland on Monday, the sandwich's second day back in stores. Another person seeking a chicken sandwich apparently damaged their car in a separate incident. So far, it's unclear when there will be enough sandwiches for everyone, and when the chaos will end.
Popeyes claims the sandwich is back for good now, so hopefully, the supply will soon meet the insane demand.
“[The sandwich is] everything customers love about Popeyes,” Alcaron said. “That’s the best thing about this sandwich; it’s like a microcosm of our brand that you can hold in your hand.”
To end our conversation, Alcaron sneakily handed me a spicy chicken sandwich, patted my hand, and told me to enjoy. And, with one of the most sought after sandwiches in America right now, enjoy I did.