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KFC’s biggest challenge: People can’t get enough of its fried chicken sandwich

KFC’s parent company Yum Brands said Wednesday that the sandwich — which is made with an extra crispy chicken filet on a buttered brioche bun with pickles and spicy or classic mayonnaise — has been a success so far.
“Our sandwich is performing at more than twice the volumes of our prior US sandwich launches,” Yum (YUM) CEO David Gibbs said during an analyst call discussing earnings. “Customers are loving the product and coming back more frequently for it.”

Sales at US KFC restaurants open more than a year grew 11% in the first quarter compared to the same period two years ago, thanks in part to the new item, he said.

Interest in the product, along with tight chicken supply, has made keeping up with demand “our main challenge” for KFC as it enters the second quarter, Gibbs said.

Fans of the sandwich can breathe easy, though. KFC says it’s not running out of chicken.

“We are not currently experiencing shortages of the new KFC Chicken Sandwich,” a KFC spokesperson told CNN Business. “We are working very closely with our supply partners to ensure we can continue to meet that demand.”

Restaurant chains have been focusing on improving their chicken sandwiches in the wake of the runaway success of Popeye’s chicken sandwich, which arrived on the scene in 2019. Since then, brands have rolled out new sandwiches in order to better compete with Popeye’s and long-time favorite Chick-fil-A.
The interest has led to several new product launches this year, including new chicken sandwiches from KFC and McDonald’s, among others.
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