We don't want to jinx it, but it feels like the Chicken Sandwich Wars – famously instigated by Popeyes back in 2019 – are finally dying down. (Though we did meet a fascinating new contender just last week.) So, what's the next menu item every chain restaurant under the sun will reinvent in the coming years? We hope you like poultry, because early signs point to the humble chicken nugget.
It all started last year, when McDonald's rolled out its limited-edition Spicy Chicken McNuggets, sending Wendy's fans into a tizzy. Now, Popeyes is upping the ante with a new permanent menu item – chicken nuggets that use the same recipe as the brand's fan-favorite fried chicken sandwich. (Yes, the same one that launched the Chicken Sandwich Wars.) Unlike most of the competition, these poppable bites find chunks of white-meat chicken breast hand-battered and breaded in buttermilk and fried craggy perfection. You can try them for yourself when they debut in Canada, the US and Puerto Rico on July 27.
'We believe that these piece(s) of crunchy, juicy delicious chicken will have guests question how they ever enjoyed chicken nuggets before this,' said Popeyes president Sami Siddiqui in a press release.
The truth is, chicken nuggets – which are all too often a freezer-to-fryer afterthought on menus – are long overdue for a glowup. And the landscape is ripe for competition: just about every fast food restaurant has some version of the dish – from Wendy's Spicy Nuggets and Carl's Jr.'s Chicken Stars to Chick-fil-A's bounty of poultry pieces.
The only hurdle on the road to chicken nugget nirvana? Possible supply chain shortages that are causing Popeyes to stockpile chicken to ensure a smooth rollout, according to Bloomberg. But considering the chain is offering its new nuggets in 36- and 48-piece orders, it seems they're fairly confident in their planning abilities.
So bring on the Chicken Nugget Wars – our bodies are ready.