Popeyes' fix for the chicken sandwich shortage: Bring your own bun

"Make your own sandwich," the chain is telling customers.

MIAMI: Popeyes may have a chicken sandwich shortage on its hands, but it still has chicken. The fast-food chain’s solution? Have customers bring their own bun to Popeyes, order three-piece tenders and assemble their own sandwich.

Popeyes’ chicken sandwich sold out in just two weeks since its nationwide debut on August 12, so fans are waiting with baited breath for its return.

"You can make your own sandwich," the chain said in a press release.

Bruno Cardinali, Popeyes’ head of marketing for North America, said the chain wanted to celebrate all the ways there are to love its food while customers patiently wait for the chicken sandwich’s return.

"Our guests love to show us on social media all the creative ways they love our food, from making their own sliders with our biscuits, tenders and honey to crispy chicken legs dipped in mashed potatoes and gravy," he said.

To promote the BYOB option, Popeyes created a video.

Cardinali explained Popeyes sources a "very specific type of chicken to ensure that the filets we use are just right for our chicken sandwich." 

Popeyes is working with existing suppliers as well as sourcing additional suppliers to meet demand, he said.

"Our guests loved our new chicken sandwich," he said. "In fact, they loved it so much they ate them all. While we work to get the sandwich back in our restaurants, we want to remind guests of the other delicious chicken offerings we serve."

So placing the tenders in a bun won’t be the exact same experience as eating one of the highly coveted sandwiches, unfortunately. But close to it.

Alison Brod Marketing + Communications is aiding Popeyes with PR around this campaign.

Budget information was not disclosed.

Some customers are a little more than angry at Popeyes for the shortage. Earlier this month, an armed group of people rushed a Popeyes restaurant in southeast Houston after being told in the drive-thru that the chicken sandwiches were sold out. Houston Police’s tweet about the incident, in which no one was harmed, went viral.

Popeyes social media team at GSD&M is replying directly to individual customers who are complaining about the shortage, said Cardinali.

"We’re also working hard to communicate to our guests through in-restaurant messaging and through the media," he said. "We want them to know we hear them, appreciate their love for the sandwich and the brand and that we’re working very hard to get the sandwich back in their hands as soon as we can."

Staffers have been told to tell pissed off customers: "We know you are disappointed and we were too. But the sandwich will be back soon," said Cardinali. 

If customers want to be the first to know when they are back in stock, they can download the Popeyes app and turn on push notifications.

Last month, consumers warred on Twitter over what chain out of Popeyes, Chick-fil-A or Wendy’s has the best chicken sandwich. This led to the demand for the Popeyes menu item.

Popeyes is also using free chicken sandwiches to lure a new global CMO.

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