- Popeyes is inviting customers to "BYOB – Bring Your Own Bun," according to info shared with Marketing Dive. The campaign comes as the chain ran out of its new and first-ever chicken sandwich after about two weeks. The sell-out was announced on Aug. 27, following the sandwich's introduction on Aug. 12.
- With their own bun, and an order of 3-piece tenders, customers are invited to make their own sandwich. To promote the idea, the brand is releasing a video showing customers trying to figure this out. Popeyes has also asked customers to download its app so they can be immediately informed when the sandwich is back in stock.
- The sell-out followed one of the largest fast-food product launches in recent memory. The chain reportedly forecast demand through the end of September, but miscalculated.
Popeyes' new Cajun-Chicken Sandwich is the latest salvo in the fast food wars, as competing chains try out new offerings and techniques to broaden their appeal. In Popeyes' case, the sandwich's introduction has been a huge hit, except for the part about running out. The Apex Marketing Group has estimated that Popeyes has generated $65 million earned media value in the first two weeks after the launch.
The "Bring Your Own Bun" campaign is a humorous way for the chain to divert the overwhelming consumer interest in its chicken sandwich to a similar product. It remains to be seen if consumers will take them up on the offer (especially without the other components that made the sandwich a hit). Still, it is another opportunity to keep the brand top-of-mind for consumers as it sorts out its supply chain issues.
This is not the first time a restaurant chain has tried to make hay out of its miscalculation. In February of last year, for instance, KFC in the UK had to close 800 of its 900 restaurants after it ran out of chicken. The chain took out ads in newspapers showing an empty bucket. Instead of the regular logo spelling out KFC on the side, the logo spelled FCK.
"A chicken restaurant without any chicken," the ad read. "It's not ideal."
With the new video, Popeyes can continue engaging with consumers on social media, which has figured prominently in this latest development in the "Chicken Wars." The brand's Twitter feud with competing chain Chick-fil-A helped drive sales of its new sandwich. However, not all the earned media has been beneficial. Reports of customer dissatisfaction included an unidentified man in Texas who pulled a gun after learning the chicken sandwich was out. No one was shot or arrested.