Popeyes is preparing for its chicken nugget release and hopes to avoid the chaos of its chicken sandwich drop. In 2019, the chicken craze officially began when customers were kicking and screaming to get their hands on Popeyes’ chicken sandwich.
In addition to long lines, customers were getting into fistfights with one another— there was even a fatal stabbing.
Now, two years later, the brand hopes to avoid the mistakes it made in 2019. A Popeyes representative recently told TMZ that the chicken sandwich release problems are weighing heavy on their minds. They believe that “across the system, franchisees have worked to increase staffing to better meet the demand for Popeyes new Chicken Nuggets.”
Per the outlet, corporate execs are visiting Popeyes locations all over the nation to troubleshoot. They hope to “identify ways the brand can quickly meet the excitement and interest from our guests of our new product.”
Additionally, Amin Dhanani, the President of Popeyes Operations for Dhanani Group, also revealed that it’s hiring more employees. The chain has roughly 300 franchises and insists employees will be ready for the high volume of customers.
Dhanani also adds that everyone was thrown for a loop by the 2019 sandwich obsession. However, now they have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for the long drive-thru lines.
Dhanani also confessed he’s concerned about running out of the coveted chicken nuggets when the menu item debuts. However, Popeyes is reportedly already stockpiling the item just to be safe.
To prepare, the fast-food giant has been reportedly stashing chicken for months. The reason is due to an unprecedented chicken shortage and price hikes currently happening in the U.S.
Popeyes Stockpiling Chicken Ahead of Nugget Release
According to Popeyes president Sami Siddiqui, in an interview with Bloomberg, the Miami-based chain has been building up its reserve of frozen chicken for over six months ahead of the debut of its new nuggets.
“Demand is very high right now. And consumer spending is surging” as the country emerges from the pandemic, Siddiqui told the outlet. “We’re planning appropriately.”
“We work really closely with our suppliers,” he added. “Supply chains are ramping up.” The strategy is a departure from the norms of the industry, which prefers to keep inventory light.
It also shows how companies are trying to protect their chicken supply during the Great Poultry Crisis of 2021. This year, many Americans have seen poultry prices surging and restaurants pulling chicken items due to the price hike.
Popeyes sources also revealed that Popeyes’ executives had reassured franchise managers that if things get too crazy, like in 2019, security will be increased where demand is exceptionally high. This will act as a way to keep customers and employees safe.