Congrats, America! We did it! We made Popeyes run out of chicken. Not all chicken, but chicken for The Sandwich — of course you know about The Sandwich by now — a.k.a., the only chicken that matters.
If you didn’t get the chance to try it when the nation was collectively febrile with Sandwich Madness last week, you’re going to have to wait awhile. The company released a statement on Tuesday saying that it’s very sorry, but Popeyes won’t be able to offer The Sandwich for a little while longer. A company representative provided us with this statement:
We have seen an extraordinary demand for the new Popeyes Chicken Sandwich following our nationwide launch on August 12. It has been amazing to see our guests share their love for our brand and for the new Chicken Sandwich on social media and beyond, and we are truly humbled and grateful for their support. The demand for the new Chicken Sandwich in the first few weeks following launch far exceeded our very optimistic expectations. In fact, Popeyes aggressively forecast demand through the end of September and has already sold through that inventory. As a result, Popeyes restaurants across the country are expected to sell out of the Chicken Sandwich by the end of this week. We, along with our suppliers, are working tirelessly to bring the new sandwich back to guests as soon as possible.
This is not really a surprise. After news of Popeyes’s superlative chicken sandwich took off last week, locations across the country began selling out quickly. Customers, hyped up for the greatest fast-food chicken experience of their lives, endured long lines at restaurants, only to be told that there were no sandwiches left. Cars waiting in drive-through lines caused traffic jams. One smart teen found a captive audience in the Popeyes line and encouraged people to register to vote. People tried to resell the sandwiches for hundreds of dollars. A Business Insider story reports that exhausted employees were working 60-hour weeks without breaks.
“Everyone wanted to quit so bad because it was that bad,” a Popeyes employee in Orange County said in an interview with Business Insider. “We have never seen it get this insanely busy.”
The more excited people got about the sandwich, the more the guilt crept in, too. Edible Brooklyn talked about Popeyes with a local chef, Evan Hanczor, who pointed out that the chicken was not likely to be raised humanely, and that “There’s real, active harm being done by fast-food companies on every level of the food system from individual to global. Have you seen the rainforests burning in Brazil?” San Francisco Chronicle critic Soleil Ho wrote that the fuss over the sandwich was “ridiculous enough to make one forget about actual kids, the ones whose tear-streaked faces we all watched on television after their parents were detained by ICE at the Mississippi poultry factory that employed them.”
There is rarely good without bad, lately. So, all of those things can be true, and at the same time, so can this: For a few fleeting days in August, The Sandwich gave us something to argue about on the Internet that wasn’t politics. It made people happy. And now it’s gone for a little while, which is bad news for everyone except Wendy’s.
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