Beloved Chain Enters Chicken Sandwich Wars With New Menu Item: 'There Will Be No Doubt Who Reigns Supreme'

The sandwich is being offered for a limited time through the month of June.

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By Emily Rella

Chili's

It seems like just yesterday that the chicken sandwich wars began, with the infamous Popeye's vs. Chick-fil-A battle of 2019.

In recent months, fast-food chains and restaurants have been debuting new menu items and products that put their own spins on the beloved menu item, with everything from special buns to chicken sandwich-flavored snacks.

And it comes with good reason — one report found that online spending on chicken sandwiches grew a whopping (or clucking, if you will) 420% from January 2019 to December 2020.

Related: Burger King Enters the Chicken Sandwich War With the Ch'King

Online food delivery service Grubhub also found that spicy chicken sandwiches were the number one item ordered in the year 2020, seeing a 300% increase from the year prior.

The reliance on delivery, online ordering and contactless dining as a result of the pandemic in the past year has made fast casual chains and even standalone restaurants key in on what people are ordering from their homes, especially if the chains or restaurants surface on the same food delivery apps and websites as popular grab-and-go fast-food chains.

The next to join the trend is beloved chain Chili's, which is debuting its Chili's Chicken Sandwich for a limited time.

Much like many of the other chicken sandwiches, this one is hand battered and breaded and served on a brioche bun.

Related: Chick-fil-A is Facing a Sauce Shortage, and People Are Losing Their Minds

But the fast-casual chain's certain that the sauce will be what sets it apart.

"Our chicken sandwich has something the rest of them don't – our new Secret Sauce," Chili's said in an email to Entrepreneur. "One bite, and there will be no doubt who reigns supreme."

The sandwich will come topped with lettuce, tomato and Secret Sauce, and it also comes with a side of fries. But act fast — it'll only be offered for the month of June.

Chili's parent company, Brinker International, reported $52.2 million in revenue in Q3 of this fiscal year, up from $41.1 million at the same time period in 2020.

"I am very pleased with the ongoing growth of our business as our guests are able to return in greater numbers to Chili's and Maggiano's dining rooms," Wyman Roberts, CEO and president of Brinker International, said in a statement. "This reopening trend, supported by investment in our digital platforms and virtual brands, now has us meaningfully outperforming our F19 sales and traffic results."

Related: KFC's New Chicken Sandwich Is Giving Popeyes a Run for Its Money — and the Numbers Prove It

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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