McDonald’s joins the fierce fight for chicken sandwich supremacy


After the steak, the focus was on the bun. Fifteen to 20 varieties of buns and rolls were considered. More sandwiches were prepared and tasted. “It was tons of buns,” Link said.

Finally, McDonald’s decided, for the first time, to use a potato roll for one of its sandwiches. The bun is toasted with a creamy butter, dispensed through new heaters being installed in restaurants.

“It’s sweet and buttery, a really nice topping for tasty chicken,” said Linda VanGosen, chief of American menu strategy at McDonald’s.

Last but not least, the two pickles arrived. “I learned a lot about pickles,” Link said with a smile, explaining that the crinkle-cut pickle that McDonald’s uses means crisper and more pickle flavor in the sandwich.

Instead of the cardboard boxes that McDonald’s uses for most of its sandwiches, the original crispy chicken sandwich and spicy version will be served in a foil bag.

In late 2019, the new chicken sandwich was being tested in restaurants in Houston and Knoxville, Tennessee. After successful trials, plans were made to launch the sandwiches last summer. But those plans were shelved as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country and franchise owners focused on keeping their doors open and employees safe.

“Our focus should be on serving our customers,” VanGosen said. “It just wasn’t the right time to launch.”

Mr. Link said the sandwich would be worth the wait.

“I am quite passionate about chicken. Being from the South, I eat a lot of chicken, ”he said. “I wanted a sandwich that when I ate that sandwich, I wanted to give it another bite.”

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