Frankly, I’m not entirely sure how it all started; I saw a few passing clickbait headlines that said that Popeyes new chicken sandwich was better/equal to Chick Fil-A’s flagship chicken sandwich one day, and then the next day, I’m hearing all sorts of stories of Popeyes restaurants dealing with insanity lines, running out of chicken sandwiches, and all sorts of social media beefs over people debating on who really is the best.
Naturally, this piqued my curiosity on whether or not this chicken sandwich really is the real deal, so this past weekend, mythical wife and I swung past a Popeyes hoping to get in on the debate. And immediately after we pull into the lot, we’re barely on the property we’re so far back in the drive-thru line. Eventually, two cars bail from the line, and as we pull forward, we can see exactly why they bailed: a handwritten sign on the door saying:
sorry we all out of ALL sandwiches
Needless to say, that’s all I needed to see, and we bailed from the line as well, and went to go pick up a pizza for dinner instead. Ultimately, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get to try it, because who doesn’t like getting denied something they want to eat when they want to eat it? But the reality is that as good as the sandwich may or may not be, there’s no way I’m really going to bother attempting this again for at least a month, when hopefully the hype dissipates some.
The thing is, with the demand that’s been created, artificially or organically, there’s lesser and lesser chance that Popeyes’ sandwich is going to come close to being able to deliver on the hype that everyone has generated for it. I can already tell that I’m going to think it’s not going to be as good as Chick Fil-A’s, the longer I have to wait. The mind has a very strong influence on the performance of the taste buds, and the more resentment and annoyance I begin to develop on account of overhyping and the exaggerated enjoyment from others, the less likely I’m going to be as objective as I can when I do eventually manage to get a hold of one.
Ultimately, this is kind of bad form for Popeyes, because when the day is over, any chain restaurant running out of food is a sign of unpreparedness and poor management. The second some major news outlets started to throw down the gauntlet and say that their chicken sandwich would rival Chick Fil-A’s, every Popeyes location in the country should have started to stock themselves with as much of the chicken filets as possible, as well as other food options for when inevitable sellouts do occur, that people can still get something else to settle on instead of walking out the door. The fact that these sellouts and inability to meet the demand on such national levels is just really bad optics for Popeyes and really isn’t so much a proof of quality as much as it is proof of inability to hang with far more successful competition.
The bottom line is that Popeyes might have Chick Fil-A in their sights, but I don’t have to try Popeyes new sandwich to know that the both of them still have a loftier rival that they should both be concerning themselves with: Bojangles. I like Chick Fil-A’s chicken filet plenty, and if Popeyes’ is supposed to be their rival that says a lot, but when the day is over all I know is that Bojangles’ Cajun filet biscuit/sandwich is on a god-tier of chicken sandwiches, and I thank the good lord that I live in a state that has Bojangles, and have pity on those who think Chick Fil-A or Popeyes is actually the pinnacle of chicken sandwiches.