Taco Bell joins chicken sandwich wars with Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco


For a fast food chain that sells tacos — not sandwiches — Taco Bell was hardly expected to join the chicken sandwich wars — but join they did.

Today, the company announced that it is testing its own version of a crispy chicken sandwich — the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco — to compete with Popeyes’ famed version and all the new menu offerings that have popped up to go head-to-head with it.

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco is both a sandwich and a taco, with chicken fried in a crunchy tortilla chip coating and wrapped in a puffy taco-shaped bread.

Yum! Taco Bell announced today that it is testing its own version of a crispy chicken sandwich — the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco

Want! The Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco is both a sandwich and a taco, with chicken fried in a crunchy tortilla chip coating and wrapped in a puffy taco-shaped bread

Want! The Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco is both a sandwich and a taco, with chicken fried in a crunchy tortilla chip coating and wrapped in a puffy taco-shaped bread

The chain describes its newest menu item as ‘premium all-white-meat crispy chicken, marinated in jalapeño buttermilk, then seasoned with bold Mexican spices and rolled in a crunchy tortilla chip coating.’  

It’s served in ‘puffy bread, shaped in an iconic taco form’ and topped with creamy chipotle sauce.

They are offering both a regular version and a spicy version, which includes crunchy jalapeño slices. 

Unfortunately, it’s still just in the testing stage, meaning it’s not yet being rolled out nationwide.

For now, it will be available at select locations in Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina starting March 11 — but Taco Bell promises the $2.49 sandwich will debut nationwide later this year. 

What’s more, they’re teasing another crispy chicken innovation to come out this year as well.

Testing: It will be available at select locations in Nashville, TN and Charlotte, NC starting March 11 — but Taco Bell promises the $2.49 sandwich will debut nationwide later this year

Testing: It will be available at select locations in Nashville, TN and Charlotte, NC starting March 11 — but Taco Bell promises the $2.49 sandwich will debut nationwide later this year

Woohoo! Six months after Taco Bell removed potatoes from its menu, the chain announced that its Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and the Spicy Potato Soft Taco are finally coming back

Woohoo! Six months after Taco Bell removed potatoes from its menu, the chain announced that its Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and the Spicy Potato Soft Taco are finally coming back

The announcement comes just weeks after Taco Bell had customers celebrating the return of its Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and the Spicy Potato Soft Taco, which were excised from the menu earlier in the pandemic.

Taco Bell ditched the two beloved dishes in July in an effort to ‘streamline’ its menu, but fans were both heartbroken and furious over the move, taking to social media and even online petitions to air their grievances. 

Social media users ranted and complained, and thousands signed petitions demanding Taco Bell rectify the mistake.

Many were upset because they simply loved the dishes, while others pointed out their importance to vegetarian diners. 

But in January, they announced that potatoes will make their triumphant return on March 11. 

As for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, it joins a growing array of chicken sandwiches introduced to fast food menus since Popeyes debuted its own in the summer of 2019. 

Flashback: Popeyes inspired chaos in the US with its first ever fried chicken sandwich in the summer of 2019

Flashback: Popeyes inspired chaos in the US with its first ever fried chicken sandwich in the summer of 2019

Must-have: The sandwich sold out in weeks and didn't return until November of that year (pictured: a NY location in August 2019)

Must-have: The sandwich sold out in weeks and didn’t return until November of that year (pictured: a NY location in August 2019)

The sandwich first hit stores in early August of that year, marking the first time in the company’s then-45-year history that it had added a chicken sandwich to the menu on a nationwide level.

The sandwich earned so much attention that other fast food chains, including Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, and Shake Shack, immediately began feuding on Twitter over which restaurant’s version is the best. 

Popeyes’ sandwich earned even more buzz when restaurants couldn’t meet the demand and sold out in less than a month, leaving some customers throwing fits, attacking employees, and even suing the chain.

Furious food fans took to social media to complain that they couldn’t get their hands on the menu item, begging Popeyes to restock.

In late August 2019, an irate Popeyes customer climbed through a drive-thru window before brawling with three employees when he learned the sandwich was sold out. 

And Craig Barr, of East Ridge, Tennessee filed a $5,000 lawsuit against the fast food chain alleging false advertising’ and ‘deceptive business practices’ by the company because he couldn’t get his hands on their famous chicken sandwich.   

By early November on 2019, Popeyes’ sandwich was back in stores, and has remained a staple on the chain’s menu.

KFC is in the process of rolling out its 'best chicken sandwich ever,' a quarter-pound double-breaded Extra Crispy chicken breast filet on a brioche bun with pickles and mayo

KFC is in the process of rolling out its ‘best chicken sandwich ever,’ a quarter-pound double-breaded Extra Crispy chicken breast filet on a brioche bun with pickles and mayo

Meanwhile, other fast food chains have scrambled to update their own fried chicken sandwiches to get in on the action. 

In January, KFC debuted its ‘best chicken sandwich ever,’ a quarter-pound double-breaded Extra Crispy chicken breast filet on a brioche bun with pickles and mayo or spicy sauce.

The new offering is set to be in all US locations by the end of February, and customers can check the chain’s website until then to track where it’s rolled out so far.

‘We tested the new KFC Chicken Sandwich in Orlando last spring, and we nearly doubled our sales expectations, so we knew that we had a winner,’ Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S., said in a press release at the time.

‘Many customers hadn’t considered KFC as a part of the chicken sandwich conversation, but anyone who tastes this sandwich will know, without a doubt, that we’re playing to win.’

Eat up! McDonald's set to join the chicken sandwich war later this month when it launches three versions of the popular fast food dish — classic (right), deluxe (left), and spicy

Eat up! McDonald’s set to join the chicken sandwich war later this month when it launches three versions of the popular fast food dish — classic (right), deluxe (left), and spicy

That same week, McDonald’s confirmed its plans to launch three varieties of a new crispy chicken sandwich — ‘classic,’ ‘deluxe,’ and ‘spicy’ — on February 24. 

All three will contain a new crispy white meat chicken fillet served with crinkle-cut pickles on a toasted, buttered potato roll.

According to Reuters, McDonald’s decision to lean in to the chicken sandwich trend cames as a result of the long-term popularity of its Chicken McNuggets, which have been a permanent menu item since the 1980s. In 2020, the chain released a limited run of Spicy Chicken McNuggets, which contributed to its highest September sales in nearly a decade.    

Also in January 2020, McDonald’s added a different type of fried chicken sandwich to the menu: breakfast sandwiches.

They included Chicken McGriddles — crispy chicken served between two sweet griddle cakes — and McChicken Biscuit sandwiches — the same chicken between two biscuit halves.

Yum! Burger King announced today that it is set to introduce a hand-breaded chicken sandwich later this year, and has been working on perfecting the recipe since 2019

Yum! Burger King announced today that it is set to introduce a hand-breaded chicken sandwich later this year, and has been working on perfecting the recipe since 2019

And last week, Burger King announced it is finally unveiling its own brand new fried chicken sandwich, which it promised is ‘just as good as one you could get from the big chicken guys.’  

‘What if hand-breading were to chicken what flame-grilling is to burgers? That’s been our guiding filter to bring a delicious chicken sandwich to guests in a way only BK can,’ said Ellie Doty, chief marketing officer, Burger King North America. 

‘We’ll take the time to get it right and our guests will definitely taste the difference.’

The sandwich has been in the works since 2019, and they’ve been testing it since last fall. 

It’s made with hand-breaded white meat chicken a potato bun, pickles, and signature sauce, and can be ordered regular or spicy.  



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