Here's How Much Popeyes Has Made From Their Chicken Sandwich

Regardless of how successful Starbucks is with their Baby Yoda Frappuccino, there's no possible way that it will ever come close to creating the cultural buzz of the Popeyes chicken sandwich. Chicken sandwiches are hardly a new food item to Americans, yet, somehow, Popeyes had people waiting hours in line and even coming to fisticuffs over their version of the fast food delicacy. One sandwich was even spotted on eBay for a list price of $2,5000 (via WVLT). Calling the chicken sandwich popular is an understatement — it was a national sensation. 

All of this begs the question — just how much money did Popeyes actually make off their fried chicken sandwich? After all, the sandwich disappeared from menus not long after its arrival because the chain couldn't keep up with public demand. 

The chicken sandwich made Popeyes millions

It didn't take long for the Popeyes chicken sandwich to catch fire. Almost immediately upon its release, social media and news outlets were touting it as the best chicken sandwich in the land — regardless of Chick-fil-A's opinion. By the end of the month, the famous chicken wars of 2019 had given Popeyes the equivalent of $65 million in advertising — and Popeyes paid zilch for it (via Forbes). 

As for what all that publicity translated to in terms of profit for Louisiana-based Popeyes, well, it made obviously made them millions. CEO José Cil reportedly said that Popeye's third-quarter sales were 16 percent higher than the previous year, and the company made a $47 million profit (via Business Insider). Popeyes hasn't said exactly how much of that came specifically from chicken sandwich sales, but the company admitted that the sandwich drove up sales of drinks, desserts, and just about every other menu item as well as its now-iconic sandwich. 

Cil credited the success to "... a really fortuitous moment of social-media interaction between two brands" as the driving force behind the chicken sandwich's buzz. 

Popeyes dished out a thousand sandwiches a day

To give you a little bit more insight into that $47 million profit Popeyes made, let's look at a few more numbers. Obviously, the chicken sandwich resulted in a lot more customers visiting Popeyes — much to the aggravation of its employees — but the boom in customer visitations was pretty ridiculous. The company saw its overall customer foot traffic grow by an incredible 255 percent after the release of its chicken sandwich (via Business Insider). 

Even after the sandwich went away and returned, the demand for it didn't die down. In fact, it increased. When the sandwich came back in November, foot traffic was nearly 300 percent higher than normal. "It is as crazy as last time if not more," a Popeyes employee in Texas said at the time. 

Before the chicken sandwich launched, Popeyes thought that each location would sell around 60 of the sandwiches a day. As it turns out, that estimate wasn't even close. Popeyes locations ran out in just two weeks because stores were moving an average of 1,000 chicken sandwiches a day, and some stores reportedly sold as many as 2,000 sandwiches the first day that the chicken sandwich finally returned. 

Even though the chicken sandwich itself sells for just four bucks, if Popeyes was selling 1,000 of them a day, plus extra drinks and food, it's easy to see how the company has had such a profitable 2019 (via Forbes). 

The chicken sandwich continues to make Popeyes money

Make no mistake about it — Popeyes is going to ride this chicken sandwich train for as long as it possibly can. The only question now, is how will the company keep the buzz going? Popeyes representative Felipe Athayde told USA Today that the sandwich will remain a permanent menu item, so that takes the limited time profit strategy off the table. They could always start rolling out different versions of the sandwich, but in the meantime, Popeyes seems to be going with some unusual promotions. 

In December, the chain attempted to piggyback off the Art Basel duct-taped banana sensation, and duct-taped one of their chicken sandwiches to a wall at an art gallery, (via Eater). For $120,003.99 it can be yours too. No, we're not even joking. Oh, and the extra $3.99? That's to cover the cost of the sandwich in the "art" piece. You didn't expect them to just give the sandwich away, did you?

The fast food chain has even adapted the chicken sandwich into an ugly Christmas sweater for the true chicken sandwich fan (via Yahoo). We'd love to tell you that one could be yours for just $45, but they've already sold out. As far as we know, that duct-taped sandwich is still up for grabs though.