On Monday, the company announced
three versions of a new
chicken sandwich, which will be available nationally on February 24: The Crispy Chicken Sandwich, topped with pickles and served on a potato roll, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which adds a spicy pepper sauce, and the Deluxe Chicken Sandwich, which comes with lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. McDonald's told investors in November to expect a new chicken sandwich
The new products, along with faster drive-thrus
and other changes
, could help McDonald's draw more traffic to its restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Prior to the pandemic, the company was losing customers to fast casual chains and higher-end burger joints. The number of transactions at its US restaurants that have been open for at least 13 months slipped 1.9% in 2019, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That year, McDonald's franchise operators warned that the chain needed a better chicken sandwich
to win customers back. "JFK called for a man on the moon," they wrote in a letter that summer. "Our call should be a category leading chicken sandwich."
The burger chain, which already serves chicken nuggets and the McChicken sandwich nationally, has since tested fried chicken sandwiches in regional markets
And during a November webcast for investors, Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA, said that "a much anticipated, delicious, new crispy chicken sandwich" would hit US menus this year.
Chicken is a good bet for McDonald's, he explained.
"Globally, the chicken category is almost twice the size of beef," he said at the time
. "It is growing faster and represents a significant opportunity," he said. "Developing a reputation for great chicken represents one of our highest aspirations. We want customers to choose McDonald's for chicken."