Among the many lessons of the pandemic, one stands out in particular, with far-reaching ramifications for the future of foodservice: The power of digital innovation. The rapid integration of digital platforms became a reliable way to drive sales, even under the most challenging circumstances.
The sky's the limit for chicken sandwich sales as restaurant chains peck and claw to meet market demand. But even as chicken sandwiches reach new heights of popularity and profitability, burgers remain the meat that can’t be beat.
The chicken sandwich wars have catapulted a menu staple to new heights of popularity and profitability. America’s insatiable appetite for chicken sandwich variations and a young market hungry for bold new taste adventures have dovetailed to create sky-high demand for chicken innovation. As a result, the stakes for quick-service chains clawing their way up the pecking order of chicken sandwich concepts continues to rise.
Chicken may have risen to the top of the pecking order in terms of consumer demand, thanks to the so-called “chicken sandwich wars.” But as restaurant operators are learning, the realities of demand and supply face a battle of their own. A drop in chicken processing and production due to the pandemic, combined with the growing popularity of chicken sandwiches at major fast food restaurants nationwide, has left operators scrambling to meet demand—and threatens to send sales into a tailspin.
Months into the pandemic, drive-thrus have become reliable revenue engines that offer consumers a coveted combination of convenience and safety. According to the location technology company Bluedot, 74% of people have used drive-thrus the same amount or more often than usual since the onset of COVID-19—a 43% increase from April.1