If you look throughout history, there are some examples of wars being incited by seemingly small or trivial events. The “chicken sandwich wars” of 2019 is one such example, where a 2-word tweet set off a social media firestorm and consumer frenzy over these fried goodies. It all started when a Chick Fil A tweet asserting their stance as the “original” chicken sandwich caught the eye of the marketing team at Popeye’s. The timing seemed peculiar as Popeye’s was in the process of launching a new chicken sandwich product, so after a 15-minute meeting they opted to respond, and those two words were simple, but pointed: “y’all good?”
Over the next week and a half, the “chicken sandwich wars” raged on as consumers debated which fast food sandwich was best, lined up at Popeye’s locations across the country, and essentially bought the Popeye’s chain out of chicken sandwiches. The Popeye’s social media accounts are now covered with images confirming that they’ve sold out of this product, with no publicized ETA in sight. The launch of this product was reportedly the most successful in the company’s history. That sounds great, right? Of course, they sold a ton of chicken sandwiches, with one location in Appleton, WI reportedly selling 1,200 of them a day!
But what was the cost of this social media debate going viral? The frenzy at locations across the country meant employees working overtime, dealing with impatient customers, and trying to manage the mayhem that ensued. Despite the success, it was a logistical headache, and one they couldn’t necessarily have planned for or predicted. The amount of exposure and brand awareness that is achieved from a “viral” post is extraordinary, but achieving that level of success in such a short time can wreak havoc on the logistics and planning processes for any business. But, with a little transparency, quality customer service, and operational agility, companies can not only survive a “viral” post, but thrive after it! That’s the ultimate goal, right?