When Popeyes unveiled its new chicken sandwich last month, it unexpectedly took the US by storm, sparking a shortage that resulted in lawsuits and a “hangry” mob.
Popeyes is working to get their sandwich back in restaurants, but they’ve formulated a way for customers to assuage their cravings in the interim: make it themselves.
Enter Popeyes’ new BYOB (bring your own bun) policy, in which customers are — you guessed it — are allowed to bring their own bread. They simply go to their nearest Popeyes outlet, order the renowned chicken tenders and then bookend it with their own buns.
“While we work to get the sandwich back in our restaurants, we wanted to offer our guests a fun way to satisfy their Popeyes sandwich cravings,” Bruno Cardinali, Popeyes’ head of marketing for North America, told CNN.
The Louisiana-headquartered chicken giant’s Twitter account even released a surprisingly self-aware video ad for BYOB with the tag, “Try our new BYOB! It’s basically The Sandwich! Only no mayo. Or pickles. And you bring your own bun … Really it’s just three tenders …”
The clip depicts various customers ordering the chicken tenders and then getting flummoxed at the lack of buns. Per the ad, you can bring any type of bread cradle you want from hamburger rolls to hot-dog buns, but it better be sturdy, lest the filling topple out as one eater “discovers” in the commercial.
However, the Popeyes ‘fry-‘hards on Twitter weren’t having it, posting cries of “delete this” and “damn, y’all are broke.” “Chick Fil A never runs out of sandwiches,” jabbed another.
It’s been a long road for the fried chicken merchant, who unveiled their signature sandwich on Aug 12 in a bid to compete with their rival Chick-fil-A, igniting a memorable Twitter war.
The savvy social-media antics sparked an unprecedented fried-chicken craze that reportedly caused the chain to blow through seven weeks of inventory in less than two weeks. On Aug. 27, Popeyes announced on Twitter that they’d run out of sandwiches entirely.
“We didn’t expect to break the internet, and as a result we had the entire nation really excited about the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich,” says José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Popeyes. “As a result, we ran out much sooner than anticipated.”
This didn’t sit well with the public, and one Tennessee man sued the chain because he “couldn’t think straight” without his Popeyes sandwich. In a more frightening incident, a “hangry” mob, including a man with a gun, stormed a Texas outlet upon learning that they were sold out.
Cil compared the phenomenon to “when the iPhone was launched about 10 to 12 years ago: “I’ve talked to many of our franchise partners across the country that have been in the business 40 to 50 years in some cases. None of them have ever seen anything like this.”
Cil added, “We’ve added a new item to our checklist: What happens if we break the internet.”
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