Burger King's New Chicken Sandwich Is Getting Delayed. Here's Why

Roughly 40 million hungry Michiganders, Wisconsinites, Ohioans, and Illinoisans, who were already part of the last stage of Burger King's national, new-and-improved chicken sandwich roll out, might have to wait longer than they expected to taste the fast-food chain's entry into the chicken sandwich wars (via MLive and United States Census). And that's not because Burger King is finding it hard to convince employees that hand-breading each, individual chicken breast for each, individual sandwich ordered is a good idea. Neither is it because BK has to train its chicken sandwich makers "aggressive[ly]" in how to safely prep raw chicken, as the fast-food chains' Jim MacDonald told MLive

The delay is a big deal for the chicken sandwich devotees, whose numbers, per QSR, are climbing. Between January 2019 and December 2020, US consumers spent 420 percent more on the fast food item. Not to give in to the hype or anything, but MacDonald told MLive that Burger King "has some information on how Popeyes makes their sandwiches," and he thinks that BK's done it better. (Forbes hit the bullseye when it predicted that Popeyes and Burger King, both owned by Restaurant Brands International, would do some "playbook swapping.") For the record, according to QSR's data, when it came out with its sandwich in 2019, Popeyes even overtook Chick-fil-A in terms of market share.

The unlikely ingredient holding back Burger King

Neither the chicken, nor the toasted potato buns, nor the lettuce, tomatoes, nor sauces are holding Midwestern customers back from sampling Burger King's new chicken sandwich. Blame the pickles. Like toilet paper, kombucha, and bitter melon, ever since COVID-19 lockdowns, pickles have been in high demand (via Report Linker). Claussen has run into problems filling the demand because municipalities have cut down on recycling services, which has, in turn, reduced the number of pickle jars available, according to B105. Kaiser, Burger King's Midwest provider, is running into similar problems. And in this case, no pickle jars means no new-and-improved chicken sandwiches from Burger King until about mid-April 2021. To quote what Jim MacDonald told MLive: "It's created a problem for us."

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country where pickle shortages aren't holding up Burger King's roll-out, consumers are in seventh heaven. On Twitter, BK's chicken sandwich fans are tweeting that the fast-food chains chicken sandwich is "smacking," (via Twitter) they're gushing that it's "so beautiful," (via Twitter) and promising that it's "legit one of the best chicken sandwiches I've ever had in my life" (via Twitter).