Chick-fil-A: is the waffle fry working?

With Chick-fil-A in the news these days for reasons that go beyond its menu, we thought it was a good time to take a closer look at how some of its key items stack up to its competitors.

Food experts recently told that the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich takes the crown for one of the best chicken sandwich in the fast food world. But can the famous Chick-fil-A waffle fries claim such a title?

“Chick-fil-A fries are good but I don’t think anyone is beating down the door at Chick-fil-a just for the fries,” says Arthur Bovino, executive editor of The Daily Meal told “In terms of chicken, [Chik-fil-A] may have superiority, but not fries.”

The fast food chain, which has been under fire recently over statements made by founder Dan Cathy about his support for traditional marriage, opened its doors in 1967 and immediately offered something different than competing fast food chains: the waffle fry.

It hoped to stand a cut above a playing field filled with string cut fries.

“Chick-fil-A waffle fries stand out simply for what they are, waffle fries,” fast food critic and writer for Seth Cardoza told “Most other fast food chains only offer traditional french fries. Chick-fil-A’s fries can be really great, but they have to be hot and fresh.”

But Chick-fil-A may be onto something with their fries because they are one of the few fast food chains that has stuck with their original recipe.

“Chick-fil-A hasn’t had to change the recipe for their fries, while Wendy’s and Burger King have made drastic changes to their fries over the years,” said Cardoza. “McDonald’s only problem was switching away from using lard when cooking their fries and still capturing that flavor.”

We asked Bovino to break down the differences in the fries:

McDonalds: “They have always been known for thin, crispy fries.  Until somebody can make a fry that everyone will talk about as much as McDonalds, McDonald’s has set the standard.” McDonald’s uses a canola blend cooking oil for its French fries.

Burger King: “Burger King has tried to beef up fries with bigger fries. And (are) trying to make them crispier.”

Wendys: “Wendy’s fries are done with sea salt and they have potato skin on them. Wendy’s fries have made strides.”

Chick-fil-A: “Generally waffle fries are not as well crisped, whereas that’s what Chick-fil-A has been trying to do…When I’ve have Chick-fil-A waffle fries they are bigger and not as crispy. If you want something that is going to grab a lot of ketchup though, waffle fries make sense.”

In 2009, Chick-fil-A sold more than 147 million pounds of waffle fries, that are cooked in pure peanut oil.

“People continue to enjoy their fries,” said Cardoza. “It’s a nice change from the usual, something you can’t get everywhere…. They are meatier, have more substance, and make you feel like you’re eating more.”

But they can’t compete with the french fry king, McDonalds. The fast food giant sells more than 1/3 of all the french fries sold in restaurants in the U.S. each year. In 2008 the company said that the french fries are also now trans fat-free in all restaurants in the United States and Canada.

According to the experts, people enjoy the waffle fries sold at Chick-fil-A, but they can’t be called the best quite yet.

“For fries, I would go to McDonalds,” said Bovino.