Yesterday, fast-food chain Popeyes decided to do something about it's really big problem.
After capturing the hearts (and stomachs) of America with their insanely popular chicken sandwich, which sold out just two weeks after it was introduced, Popeyes released a video that shows customers how to make their own DIY version of the sandwich.
Popeyes calls this approach BYOB, short for Bring Your Own Bun.
Here's how it works.
First, you pick the bun of your choice--it could be a traditional seeded hamburger bun, or a pretzel bun, or even a hotdog bun--then you take it to your local Popeyes.
Second, you buy a special BYOB box of three chicken tenders and find somewhere to sit.
Third, you take the chicken tenders out of the special BYOB box and insert them into your bun.
Voila! The famous (and elusive) Popeyes chicken sandwich.
As Popeyes pointed out in yesterday's BYOB tweet, "Only no mayo. Or pickles."
Oh. And as the video clearly demonstrates, those chicken tenders might decide to just fall out of the bun and onto your lap.
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... pic.twitter.com/9jOFyfdae4-- Popeyes Chicken (@PopeyesChicken) September 12, 2019
You might recall that KFC ran out of chicken in the UK back in February 2018, forcing the company to close most of its restaurants in that country for the better part of a week. The company apologized with full-page newspaper ads showing an empty chicken bucket with the KFC initials cheekily rearranged.
The ads captured the hearts of UK customers, who had a laugh then happily returned to KFC when the restaurants reopened a few days later. It was a stroke of marketing genius.
While the Popeyes BYOB video wasn't quite up to KFC's PR effort, it definitely got people talking about the company's chicken sandwiches again. As the old saying goes, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."
Says Adam Hildreth, founder and CEO of crisis intelligence firm Crisp,
As Popeyes deals with the most recent event in chicken shortages, it will be important for the chain to leverage those same elements of swift action and transparent communication with this BYOB campaign. By listening to their customers, addressing the situation quickly, and with social media, Popeye's will have a better chance of maintaining customer loyalty and ensuring there will be people to buy their sandwiches when they do return to the menu.
Why Popeyes ran out of chicken sandwiches in first place is still a bit of a mystery--as is why they still can't seem to get those sandwiches back into restaurants.
In a statement just before they ran out of chicken sandwiches, Popeyes said,
The demand for the new Chicken Sandwich in the first few weeks following launch far exceeded our very optimistic expectations. In fact, Popeyes aggressively forecasted demand through the end of September and has already sold through that inventory.
So, it appears that the BYOB chicken sandwich is it for the foreseeable future.
With other fast-food chains now laser focused on chicken sandwiches--Chick-fil-A has been selling its popular sandwich since 1964, and McDonald's just introduced a new spicy chicken sandwich of its own--Popeyes would do well to get its own version back into restaurants sooner rather than later.
To borrow a line from Wendy's from a couple of decades ago, "Where's the chicken sandwich?"