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Data: McDonald's foray into chicken sandwich wars leads to foot traffic boost

McDonald's (MCD) official, long-awaited debut of its chicken sandwich last month helped spark an influx of hungry customers looking for the latest hot item, data released on Tuesday showed.

The Golden Arches' unveiling led to a surge in foot traffic across McDonald's locations nationwide, according to analytics company Placer.ai — with foot traffic spiking by over 19% the day of the sandwich's release (Wednesday, Feb. 24) compared to the prior week.

Traffic at most fast food outlets has been badly hampered by COVID-19, but that effect has been partly offset by digital orders and special value deals. In-store visits surged even more in the days that followed with visitor counts up 29.1% and 21.5%, respectively, according to the firm's data.

(Source: Placer.ai)
(Source: Placer.ai)

Placer.ai's findings also showed that average daily visitor counts in February were up almost 13% from January — proving that the new sandwich provided a much needed boost.

McDonald's sandwich is the latest entrant in an increasingly competitive fast food space that has major chains fighting for dominance. Prior to the item's debut, McDonald's had been experiencing a slowdown in foot traffic with visitor counts down 29.4% year-over-year during the week of February 22, Placer.ai said. Meanwhile, traffic was down over 43.1% the week of January 25.

(Courtesy: McDonald's)
(Courtesy: McDonald's)

McDonald's unveiled three different versions of the new addition: Crispy, Spicy and Crispy Deluxe (which includes extra toppings like lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.) All three are served on a potato roll with prices varying depending on location and region, according to a company spokesperson.

Ever since Popeyes emerged in 2019 to challenge Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich crown — to smashing success — a growing contingent of fast food giants have jumped in with menu items of their own. The ever lengthening list includes Taco Bell (YUM), KFC, Wendy's (WEN), Burger King (QSR), Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, Shake Shack (SHAK).

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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