This powder keg tweet from Popeyes set off a viral social media engagement with rival Chick-fil-A. With that single tweet, Popeyes began selling out of their new chicken sandwich while simultaneously proving the power of free social media marketing.
Launching their competition-inducing chicken sandwich on August 12, 2019, Popeyes didn’t see an increase in foot traffic until after the viral tweet on August 19, 2019, states a Gravy Analytics study. And thanks to the tweet, the study shows Popeyes’ traffic peaked on August 24, 2019, at 73% higher than average while helping the fried chicken chain grab another half percent of the chicken category.
Additionally, a report from Placer.ai shows nationwide traffic at Popeyes’ branches rose 67.6% on August 20, 2019 and August 21, 2019, and increased 103.3% above their average summer baseline.
Customers clamored through the doors of Popeyes stores, and posted rave reviews of the new menu item. A New York Times article mentioned certain franchise owners were selling upwards of 1,200 sandwiches per day.
“If I could bottle that and sell it, I’d be the richest guy in the world,” explains Rick Camac, Dean of Restaurant and Hospitality Management at the Institute of Culinary Education, “We’re talking about fast food and it’s not very often that they do something that creates a fervor like has happened here. And I think the smartest thing that happened was Chick-fil-A responded immediately on Twitter, and it created this fervor that is maybe unsurpassed in the fast food world, and maybe in all other sectors as well.”