- McDonald’s franchisees are demanding the fast-food giant create a chicken sandwich that can rival Chick-fil-A and Popeyes’ sandwiches.
- “We need to stay focused on coming up with a Chicken Sandwich our customers are going to crave,” reads an emailed message sent by McDonald’s National Owners Association on Sunday, obtained by Business Insider.
- In December, McDonald’s kicked off a test of a new crispy chicken sandwich and deluxe crispy chicken sandwich in Houston, Texas, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
- “So far, our customers in Houston and Knoxville have had a positive response to the test of our Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Deluxe Crispy Chicken sandwich,” a McDonald’s representative told Business Insider. “The test will continue for a few more weeks and the feedback from customers will inform our decisions moving forward.”
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McDonald’s franchisees are determined to get a chicken sandwich on the menu that can compete with Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
On Sunday, McDonald’s National Owners Association (NOA) – an independent group of franchisees – emailed a message to members emphasizing the need for a high-quality chicken sandwich.
“We need to stay focused on coming up with a Chicken Sandwich our customers are going to crave,” reads the message, obtained by Business Insider. “A chicken sandwich that gives our customers another reason to visit McDonald’s. A McDonald’s Classic to go with our classic sweet tea.”
The NOA did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for further comment on the message.
The message, sent by the NOA board, said that it was important to focus on what matters despite McDonald’s recent run of negative media coverage. Two black McDonald’s executives filed a lawsuit claiming they faced racial discrimination at the fast-food giant last week, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a “party culture” encouraged by top executives.
“None of us likes to read about our brand in a negative light,” the message reads. “We have been raised to hold up the Arches and do it in the best light. We aren’t always going to get it right but we get it right much more than we get it wrong. The truth matters and we have the truth on our side.”
The NOA also expressed concerns that negative media coverage could impact the yet-to-be released chicken sandwich, if it contains monosodium glutamate, or MSG.
“There will be talk about it containing MSG,” the message reads. “Needless to say, all of our Chicken Sandwich competitors use MSG, and many foods naturally contain MSG. The FDA deems MSG safe and the tests over the years have disproven the myth that MSG is harmful. We don’t need to get distracted by media stories that can’t get their facts straight.”
In December, McDonald’s kicked off a test of a new crispy chicken sandwich and deluxe crispy chicken sandwich in Houston, Texas, and Knoxville, Tennessee. The fast-food giant has been working to craft the perfect chicken sandwich for months, even before Popeyes launched its own earlier this year.
“We are always listening to our customers regarding our menu offerings,” a McDonald’s representative told Business Insider. “So far, our customers in Houston and Knoxville have had a positive response to the test of our Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Deluxe Crispy Chicken sandwich. The test will continue for a few more weeks and the feedback from customers will inform our decisions moving forward.”
CNBC reported in July that the NOA was pushing the company to make the development of a new chicken sandwich its “top priority,” citing Chick-fil-A’s results. A sandwich that McDonald’s tested in 2019 apparently underwhelmed restaurant operators, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The chicken sandwich wars are expected to rage on in 2020. On Monday, Popeyes announced it is giving out free chicken sandwiches to celebrate a partnership with delivery service DoorDash.
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- ‘You are out on the island on your own’: 3 black McDonald’s franchisees speak out about what it is really like owning locations of the fast-food giant