A marketing stunt Popeyes hoped would appease — or at least amuse — customers irritated by the disappearance of the fast-food chain’s top-selling chicken sandwich is causing heartburn instead.
The restaurant doesn’t seem to be sorry so far: The video campaign was worth a shot, the company told Twitter users who snarked about the spot offering a tongue-in-cheek remedy for the sandwich shortage.
Customers craving the item — one Tennessee man wanted it so badly he filed a lawsuit — should simply stop by their local restaurant, buy some chicken tenders and BYOB. That’s B for bun, not bottle.
“It’s basically The Sandwich!” Popeyes said on Twitter. “Only no mayo. Or pickles. And you bring your own bun… Really, it’s just three tenders…”
Twitter wasn’t amused, which probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Even in the video, customers — or actors playing them — are seen reacting as nothing less than perplexed and disheartened at the box filled with just meat. The video ends with one woman saying, “Seriously, when are you getting this sandwich, though?”
The post garnered nearly 11,000 retweets and over 36,000 likes but many of the comments were far from positive.
“We’re not laughing,” one user said.
“Can’t blame us for trying,” the company responded. “Right? OK, we get it…”
The company’s fried chicken sandwich on a buttered brioche bun with pickles, which hit stores on Aug. 12, had drawn rave reviews initially.
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“Guests came from near and far to try it and share their excitement for the product,” Bruno Cardinali, head of North American marketing, told FOX Business. “They loved it so much that we sold out. While we work to get the sandwich back in our restaurants, we wanted to offer our guests a fun way to satisfy their Popeyes sandwich cravings.”
Restaurant Brands International Inc., the parent company of Popeyes, Tim Hortons and Burger King, is one of the world’s largest quick-service dining firms, with over 26,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories.
It reported $32 billion in system-wide sales last year, $3.7 billion of which came from Popeyes.
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