McDonald’s is trying to lure Southerners with a new menu item: buttermilk crispy chicken tenders.
The tenders are a twist on the McDonald’s sandwich by the same name, the buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich, which has been one of McDonald’s most successful food launches in the last couple of years.
The fast-food chain is testing the tenders at 138 restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“This is the South and in the South you have to have good chicken!” Jeff Stanton, a Charlotte-area McDonald’s owner, said in a statement. “There are a lot of competitors in this market and we wanted to play in that arena and expand our chicken offerings.”
The company is also releasing a new “signature sauce,” which is described as slightly tangy and sweet, to pair with the tenders.
According to McDonald’s, the tenders are made with 100% white meat with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, MSG, or antibiotics important to human medicine.
Like the crispy chicken sandwich, the tenders are marinated and battered with buttermilk and a blend of spices.
After the sandwich launched nationwide in 2015, McDonald’s same-store sales increased for the first time in two years. At the time, McDonald’s executives attributed the increase to the sandwich and the launch of all-day breakfast.
“It outperformed the high end of our expectations,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said of the sandwich in October 2015.