What is it about the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich that made anxious customers willing to wait in record long lines on Wednesday for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day? Politics aside, is the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich that good and better than all the rest?
“It tastes really, really good,” The Daily Meal Executive Editor Arthur Bovino told Foxnews.com
In 2009, it sold more than 261 million Chick-fil-A sandwiches. That’s more than 500 a minute, or 8 sandwiches per second. Laid end to end, that is more than 20,590 miles of chicken sandwiches. And Wednesday added quite a bit of mileage to that number. “It was an unprecedented day,” said Chick-fil-A Inc Executive Vice President, Steve Robinson. “We congratulate local Chick-fil-A owners/operators and their team members for striving to serve each and ever customer with genuine hospitality.
And what exactly are they serving you? “There’s not much to it, the battered deep fried chicken breast, 2 pickle chips, a bun, and the sauce of your choice,” fast food critic and writer for orlandofastfoodcritic.com Seth Cardoza told Foxnews.com. “Keeping it simple allows you to focus on making it right.”
“It’s handed breaded and seasoned before it gets to the individual locations and then fried in peanut oil. So you get a nice crispy exterior,” said Bovino.
Most other fast food competitors have some sort of chicken sandwich on their menu as well, but food critics say they aren’t the same.
“McDonald’s [chicken sandwich] is amazingly greasy,” said Bovino. “[Chick-fil-A has] a larger patty, the bun and the spice [on the chicken] and just the way it’s prepared make it good.
“Chick-fil-A’s sandwich is definitely better than Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King,” said Cardoza. “If you want a good, inexpensive chicken sandwich, I think of Chick-fil-A.”
So what is the difference between the original Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and the competition? Arthur Bovino gives us his breakdown:
McDonald’s: “It looks like they are copying Chick-fil-A. It is a soft bun with just pickles and they do that brush of that oil butter…but its greasy.”
Burger King: “The Burger King classic is seasoned but pretty dry. It kind of tastes like rotisserie chicken. It has thick mayo sauce and pretty much no topping with an Italian sesame roll.”
Wendy’s: “The Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich is pretty hot and juicy. It has a really peppery crust, with two slices of tomato. It’s a tasty sandwich.”
Since Chick-Fil-A opened its doors in 1967, they have had 44 consecutive years of growth sales. In 2011, they reached $4.1 billion in sales, for a 13 percent increase from 2010. “They are focusing on what they do well,” said Bovino. And many experts think that has been the key to the company’s success.
With 1,600 restaurants in 39 states, the focus is on chicken, unlike its competitors who have everything from burgers, to fish filet on their menus. In 2009, Chick-fil-A used nearly 162 million pounds of chicken.
“Other chains are trying to do everything,” said Bovino. “A lot of people would argue that the McDonald’s sandwich looks so good in the ads but doesn’t look so good at the restaurant. Maybe they should be focusing on raising the quality of standard items and not trying to do everything for everybody.”
Chick-fil-A has stuck to keeping their menu items simple for the past 44 years, and experts say that likely won’t change.
“The simplicity of the Chick-fil-A sandwich is what makes it stand out,” said Cardoza.
So the verdict is in: “Amongst all of them… I would go to Chick-fil-A,” said Bovino.
For more information about our food critics, please visit The Daily Meal