More Than Chicken

By now everyone has seen or heard about the “battle of the chicken sandwiches” between Chick-fil-A and Popeyes. Some of you may have even done your own taste test experiment to determine which one is superior. I promise this isn’t a post to decide which one is the winner or to talk about how funny & creative some of the memes are. I want to talk about the viral opportunity that should have been exploited by Popeyes. But first let’s talk about Chick-fil-A…

Chick-fil-A is a well-known fast food chain that serves chicken. But as much as people enjoy their nuggets, this franchise is also known for their exemplary customer service. The staff is friendly, the food is always fresh, and your order is correct every single time. Not to mention that the restaurant is clean and well-maintained. To be honest, the items I just listed are not mind-blowing. These are things that every business should offer, but in today’s world - great customer service is a rarity. So rare, in fact, that when it is delivered consistently it can set your business above the others. But back to the chicken wars…

When the battle for the best chicken sandwich started taking off on social media, many of the posts said that Popeyes had the better sandwich. This restaurant chain could have used the opportunity to re-brand and capture new customers. People lined up at Popeyes to taste this new sandwich and see what the hype was about. But instead of social media being flooded with praise for the sandwich, the feeds quickly became filled with pictures of misspelled, hand-written signs informing customers that a location was sold out of sandwiches. Or memes of people waiting for hours only to be informed that they are out of chicken. Those pictures were followed with people singing Chick-fil-A’s praises and saying they would rather have a lesser, although tasty, sandwich if it meant that they received amazing customer service. A good product and great customer service seems to trump a great product and mediocre or sub-par service.

But what if Popeyes saw the viral buzz and adjusted their business practices to capitalize on this moment? They could have increased chicken deliveries to their franchises. Corporate could have shared their analytics on what was happening on twitter with the local owner/operators and encouraged them to increase staffing during lunch and dinner to serve more customers. Managers could have ensured that the restaurant staff were pleasant and offered outstanding customer service. New customers could have been greeted with sparkling stores and refreshing bathrooms. Stores that were out of sandwiches could offer customers rain checks or coupons due to the long waits. These few minor adjustments could increase brand loyalty resulting in more sales in the future.

But don’t look at the “chicken wars” without looking at your own business. Is your company ready to respond to a viral moment? Can your business pivot and capitalize on a trend? Who will you be - Chick-fil-A or Popeyes?

Mentoring Matters

The Ripple Effect