Popeyes Is Cool With You Bringing Your Own Bun for a Makeshift Chicken Sandwich
After long lines, sold-out stores, and a hiatus from the menu, a Popeyes chicken sandwich is still within reach.
The hype surrounding Popeyes new chicken sandwich has been nearly unprecedented. I say "nearly" because though the critically-lauded fast food sandwich sold out nationwide — even allegedly leading a group of people to demand one at gunpoint — we have occasionally seen this level of dedication in the past. (For instance, two years ago, Rick & Morty fans went crazy over the limited re-release of McDonald's Szechuan Sauce.) But now, Popeyes is doing something that may be literally unprecedented, a move I've never heard of at least. The fried chicken chain is openly encouraging customers to simply "BYOB" — aka "Bring Your Own Bun" — and make their own Popeyes chicken sandwich… like some sort of desert island castaway.
Okay, on first glance, this idea doesn't seem that bad. "Popeyes still has the best fried chicken in the game, so bring your own bun, order 3-piece tenders and voila! You can make your own sandwich," the company suggests. I've certainly had a chicken sandwich made out of tenders — even good ones. And frankly, selecting your own bun gives you the ability to potentially even improve Popeyes sandwich. Maybe the bakery on your block makes the most kickass brioche in the city. This could actually be an epiphany in the making.
But then comes another epiphany: First of all, as you might expect, Popeyes uses different cuts of chicken breast for the sandwich and the tenders (bun-sized versus strips), a spokesperson confirmed to me. But furthermore, though the spices may be the same, even the breading of the two menu items is different. Popeyes developed a new buttermilk batter specifically for the sandwich to create a texture designed to maximize the experience. So, yes, you can make "a" Popeyes chicken sandwich the BYOB way, but you cannot make "the" Popeyes chicken sandwich this way. It's nothing more than a workaround.
In fairness to Popeyes, they clearly know this. In the promotional video for their "BYOB" idea, the customers are portrayed as confused and unsatisfied. "Seriously, when are you getting the sandwich though?" one line goes.
According to my Popeyes' contact, the answer to that is "soon" — but apparently not soon enough where the chain doesn't feel the need to offer up a bit of stopgap marketing to keep the gravy train rolling in the interim. And speaking of gravy, that's something you could add to your self-made BYOB Popeyes chicken sandwich. See, I'm not saying "bring your own bun" is a bad idea; I'm just saying it won't replicate the actual chicken sandwich you've been waiting for.