The Subtle Shot Popeyes Just Took At Chick-Fil-A

The online chicken sandwich wars rage on. September 20 was just another Sunday in America, and Chick-fil-A wasn't bothering anybody, just minding its own business, when Popeyes launched a subtle verbal attack against its fast-food rival.

Actually, Chick-fil-A wasn't minding its own business on Sunday. Per company policy, all of its 2,500 U.S. stores were closed, as they are every Sunday. That's what prompted Popeyes to throw a jab on Twitter: "It's the 'closed on Sundays' for me."

First, a quick explanation: "It's (fill in the blank) for me," or the #ItsForMe challenge, is a viral trend on TikTok where friends exchange embarrassing insults about each other for comedic effect (via Stay Hipp). That's pretty much what's going on here. Popeyes, which is open seven days a week, chose a Sunday to drop this particular #ItsForMe bomb on its competition. One commenter underneath Popeyes' tweet was eagerly awaiting Chick-fil-A's response: "You gonna take that?" Another commenter came back cleverly, "We won't know till Monday." 

While this was meant as a jab at Chick-fil-A, some rose to its defense as they felt it is a better option due to their customer service and quick drive-thru times, as one tweeted, "The drive through can be wrapped around the building and I still get my sandwich in ten mins."

So far, Chick-fil-A has held its tongue. Maybe its marketing team is still crafting the perfect comeback.

The chicken sandwich wars came to Twitter more than a year ago, after Popeyes added a sandwich to its menu that was meant to compete directly with the sandwich at Chick-fil-A (via Business Insider).

Chick-fil-A and Popeyes have been battling online for a year

Within a week of introducing its sandwich, Popeyes had the attention of those in charge of tweets at Chick-fil-A. They wanted to remind their followers who came up with the sandwich first: "Bun + chicken + pickles = all the [heart] for the original." Popeyes responded with snide sympathy: "... y'all good?" Then fans of the two chains lined up at the drive-thrus to support their favorite sandwich with their dollars. Popeyes wasn't prepared for the rush. Eight days after the tweet exchange, Popeyes had run out of sandwiches (via Vox).

Popeyes didn't bring its sandwich back until two months later, on Nov. 3. Popeyes may have chosen the date because it was National Sandwich Day. It also happened to fall on a Sunday. Chick-fil-A, overly eager to keep a competitive edge, sent a promotion to customers asking them to come enjoy their sandwich on National Sandwich Day, forgetting all their restaurants would be closed that day. What followed was a red-faced apology from Chick-fil-A and yet another retort from Popeyes: "seriously ... y'all good?" (via USA Today)

As we all await Chick-fil-A's response to the latest jab from Popeyes, fans of the "original" are speaking for them. A Chick-fil-A customer: "If you think Popeyes customer service or products are even close to the great quality of CFA you are high!" The comeback, from a Popeyes supporter, was probably inevitable: "Popeyes customer service is better than CFA's on Sundays."

More 'beef' between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A

The Popeyes and Chick-fil-A jabs haven't been relegated to Twitter, either — by any means. Back in December 2019, Popeyes decided to make its presence known in the print "help wanted" section of several major newspapers, including The New York TimesNew York PostBoston Globe, and Miami Herald — on a Sunday, of course (via CNBC).

Popeyes, in their help wanted ad, said they were looking for people who were free on Sundays and have experience building a chicken sandwich ("a bun + chicken + pickles"). Interestingly, they're only looking for people to join their team "one day a week," which is, of course, a direct dig at Chick-fil-A. They were also hoping applicants loved serving people chicken sandwiches, and to apply through a "Sunday Openings" email address through Popeyes.

Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sundays — even those in busy airports and in football stadiums. As noted on the company website, "Our founder, Truett Cathy, made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose — a practice we uphold today."

This definitely comes with a cost — estimated at $1.2 billion each year (via 24/7 Wall St) — as well as the cost of having Popeyes come for the business they're leaving behind as Chick-fil-A fans are left with a closed building and empty tummies if they're craving a chicken sandwich on a Sunday.