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The great chicken debate

Popeyes released their Classic Chicken Sandwich on August 12, 2019 beginning the nationwide “chicken war.” (Photo by jelm6 via Flickr.)
By Cole Peverall–

In the United States, more than 200,000 fast food restaurants offer similar menu items, but despite the similarities in products, everyone has a favorite. For years, debates have gone arguing which fast food chain has the best burger: McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s? All three chains cook their burgers differently from each other, which leads to three distinct burgers. 

McDonald’s supplier ships frozen patties to the restaurants and then grills them at the restaurant with the only exception being their Quarter Pounder. Wendy’s operates on a made-to-order basis, in which the customer orders their burger, and it is then prepared at the customer’s request. Unlike McDonald’s, Wendy’s uses fresh beef, and the beef that is not served on a given day is then put into their chili. Burger King uses a different grilling method than McDonald’s and Wendy’s, in which they cook their patties over a flame on a flame grill, but they do use frozen patties similar to McDonald’s.

“Burger King has overall better quality than McDonald’s and Wendy’s. BK’s burgers tend to have more of a restaurant quality where the other two you can tell it’s done quick and cheap,” said Nick Langley, sophomore.

While the debate over the big three hamburgers has gone on for quite some time, the newest debate to hit the fast food world is the chicken sandwich. When thinking of chicken sandwiches, many associate the idea with Chick-Fil-A who credits themselves with inventing the chicken sandwich in 1964 at the Dwarf Grill in Hapeville, Ga. For a while, no one did debate what the best fast food chicken sandwich was until the summer of 2019 when Popeye’s released its chicken sandwich. 

This new menu item at Popeye’s sparked a new phenomenon known as the “chicken wars.” Many individuals find themselves to be on opposite sides of the debate arguing whether the classic Chick-Fil-A is the best or if the newcomer Popeye’s is the best.

From an informal survey of 21 anonymous Gonzaga students on what they felt was the best chicken sandwich among other fast food questions, 13 said they liked the Chick-Fil-A original sandwich the best;  two students preferred the spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. Only three students said they liked Popeye’s chicken sandwich better, but none said the Popeye’s sandwich was their favorite fast food meal. Chipotle had the most votes for favorite restaurant at seven in front of both Chick-Fil-A and Five Guys both tallying six votes.

Taco Bell announced via Twitter on February 22, they will be releasing a brand new Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. (

Although the small sample size of Gonzaga students prefer the Chick-Fil-A sandwich, mainstream fast food chains work towards what they hope will be the next best meal in the current chicken war. Taco Bell announced that it will release a new product dubbed the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Students talked about their feelings towards Taco Bell’s new product and other chains looking to make an impact in the chicken war.

“I like the idea. Hopefully different chains will try to better their products which will increase competition among different chains,” said James Owan, senior. 

Others had different feelings towards Taco Bell’s new innovative product, as well as messages to other chains looking to enter into the chicken war.

“Whatever other chains do, they won’t be able to compete with Chick-Fil-A or Popeye’s,” said Luke Jackman, senior.

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    Carol CorganApr 1, 2021 at 10:17 am

    I am disappointed not to be able to check out Chick-Fil-A, or any other fried chicken sandwich, due to having celiac disease. No fun. Fried chicken used to be one of my favorites.
    Fun article, Cole!