Chicken Sandwiches to be Tried out Under Golden Arches

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) appears to be entering the chicken sandwich wars.

The chain, based in Chicago, teased a test of a chicken sandwich Sunday in Houston and Knoxville, Tennessee.

McDonald’s franchisees have asked for a Southern-style chicken sandwich as Chick-fil-A’s threat to their business grows. The board of the National Owners Association, an independent franchisee group, wrote in an email in July that a chicken sandwich should be their top priority.

McDonald’s carries Chicken McNuggets and the McChicken sandwich.

This fall, it debuted the Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a limited-time offer that launched to little fanfare. But the Chicago-based chain has not tested anything similar to Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich since 2018, when it tested the Ultimate Chicken Sandwich in more than 160 locations in Washington State.

Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich has helped the chain become the nation’s third-largest restaurant chain by sales, trailing only McDonald’s and Starbucks. McDonald’s has roughly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S., while Chick-fil-A operated 1,989 stand-alone restaurants and 363 “licensed units,” which are the nontraditional stadium, amusement park and university locations, by the end of 2018.

In a good year for the stock market overall, McDonald's has seen a turbulent time in 2019. The fast-food giant had posted huge gains for the year by late summer, but a recent setback has pulled the stock back to a more modest year-to-date rise. That performance has been consistent with what McDonald's produced in 2018 as well.

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