Long Seen as Boring, Chicken Is Becoming a Buzz Item for Restaurants

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Fast-food franchises are playing a game of chicken. Literally.

What used to be considered a boring staple has now become a buzz item for many big players in the food world, including Domino's, which is about to introduce a chicken dish that can be topped like a pizza.

Yep – that means you can have your extra cheese with peppers and pineapple not on dough, but on breaded, boneless chicken. Domino's 'Specialty Chicken' will launch nationwide on April 14 in several varieties: Crispy Bacon and Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno and Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

The pizza chain's move to swap out pizza crust for chicken is a play to take a bigger serving of the booming chicken market. The company, which already sells wings and boneless chicken, says chicken has become a "big part of what we do." "We are proud that pizza is what we are known for, but introducing Specialty Chicken shows that we are certainly a pretty legitimate player in the chicken business as well," says Domino's spokesperson Chris Brandon.

Related: Chick-fil-A Tries to Appeal to New Yorkers By Updating Image

Domino's isn't the only franchise eager to expand its chicken dishes. Most major pizza chains now offer wings, with Pizza Hut recently generating buzz by offering free wings nationwide if a team with a winged mascot won the NCAA basketball title. Yum Brands has been exploring a chicken sandwich concept in Dallas called Super Chix and Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman is opening his first ChocoChicken location in Los Angeles next month. Meanwhile, existing players are expanding, with Chick-fil-A pushing to open locations outside the south and in urban markets, including New York City

However, Domino's is confident that their pizza-influenced take on chicken will set it apart from the competition.

"Specialty Chicken is unlike anything else that customers can get on the market today," says Brandon. "With four unique flavor combinations and a very clever mix of toppings, we think customers will taste Specialty Chicken and know it was made by pizza chefs."  

Related: Umami Burger Founder's Latest Dish? Chocolate Fried Chicken

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