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Popeyes chicken sandwich makes epic comeback

Heidi Chung
Reporter

After two grueling months for Popeyes fans, the chicken sandwich is coming back November 3.

The company tweeted the news Monday morning and threw a little shade at competitor Chick-fil-A in its announcement:

The news of the chicken sandwich’s return comes on the heels of the Popeyes parent Restaurant Brands’ third quarter earnings results before the bell Monday. Adjusted earnings per share and revenue were in line with analysts’ estimates.

Popeyes same-store sales grew a whopping 9.7% during the quarter and blew out Wall Street’s expectations.

“Popeyes had one of its best quarters in nearly two decades, achieving comparable sales growth of more than 10% in the US,” according Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil.

It took the Popeyes culinary team two years to develop the chicken sandwich, and after officially releasing it on August 12, the sandwich sold out in just two weeks.

The chicken chain was expecting the supply to last for at least three months, but the unintended viral social media attention drove huge levels of traffic to stores, and wiped out chicken supplies within weeks.

[Read more: Popeyes chicken sandwich: Inside a great American fast food success story]

“This has been the biggest launch in the history of Popeyes, if not QSR,” Popeyes America’s President Felipe Athayde previously told Yahoo Finance in an interview. “It’s going to be a cultural phenomenon. We just launched the iPhone of chicken sandwiches.”

Popeyes restaurant is pictured in Westminster, Colorado, U.S. February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

With four seemingly simple ingredients — a buttered brioche bun, cajun-inspired mayonnaise, a crispy fried chicken filet and naturally-brined pickles — Popeyes had no idea it was about to change the fast food chicken sandwich game in America. Its sandwich blew up the tried-and-true fast food product release model and most notably how an item is marketed for the first time.

While the Popeyes team knew the chicken sandwich would be successful, the extent of the fan response was largely unprecedented.

“We knew we had a very high quality product at a very attractive price point. One thing is to predict high demand, the other thing is when you have 50 people lined up outside of the restaurant at 9 a.m. when the restaurant opens at 10 a.m.,” Athayde said.

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi contributed to this report.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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