The Finger Food That's Replacing The Chicken Sandwich Wars

The chicken sandwich wars began as a marketing trend of various chicken-centric fast food chains vying for supremacy. It all started when Popeyes introduced a new fried chicken sandwich and Chick-fil-A felt the need to assert its OG status on Twitter as chicken sandwich trailblazers (per Restaurant Business).

With the first internet salvo fired across the bow, Popeyes loaded its social media guns and responded in kind with a snarky remark that launched a chicken sandwich conflict. The publicity did wonders for Popeyes, creating higher than expected demand as people lined up en masse to try the chicken sandwich that was causing all this commotion. In just two weeks, Popeyes had sold out of its inventory (via CNBC).

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, and a great way to ride the wave of commercial success, other fast food chicken joints jumped on the chicken sandwich bandwagon to either upgrade their current offerings or promote their own new chicken sandwiches. KFC, Zaxby's, Bojangles, McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Wendy's — you name it — all followed suit with their own versions of the Popeyes chicken sandwich. Now it appears a finger food many people associate with childhood might be replacing the chicken sandwich wars (per Axios).

A new war emerges on the chicken front

Early battle lines are being drawn in what could become another poultry-based clash for fast food market share. This time the bread has been shed and the portions miniaturized into that fun fare of our youth, the chicken nugget.

According to Axios, big-time players in the chicken chain scene including KFC and Boston Market are introducing fried chicken nuggets to their menus. KFC has done a limited-time test launch in Charlotte, North Carolina. The idea behind this nugget push is to attract a younger generation of customers.

Meanwhile, competitor Boston Market has unveiled its signature and spicy Rotisserie Chicken Nuggets, which are roasted and touted as a healthier alternative to the fried stuff (via Today). McDonald's has even re-released its Spicy Chicken McNuggets at participating locations for a limited time (per CNN). Burger King brought the flame last fall when it introduced Ghost Pepper Nuggets and Mashed tried them if you're interested in whether they live up to the spice hype.

Wendy's already has Spicy Chicken Nuggets, but the brand cranked the heat up another notch last summer when it released a Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce (via QSR). It's still unclear whether this situation will evolve into full-scale nugget warfare, but the initial skirmishes have begun.