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McDonald’s Is Desperate to Get In the Chicken Sandwich Game

Alas, it's only available in two markets for now.

McDonald's

About 1,000 Chick-fil-A locations have opened in the past decade, and in the past few months, the Popeye’s chicken sandwich became a bonafide sensation. Chicken sandwiches are having a moment, and McDonald’s is trying to capitalize before it’s too late.

The largest fast-food restaurant on the planet is testing two brand-new premium chicken sandwiches to directly compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s. The Crispy Sandwich is topped with butter and crinkle-cut dill pickles; the Deluxe Crispy Sandwich has mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Both are served on a buttery potato roll.

The sandwiches are available until January 26 at participating restaurants in and around Knoxville and Houston. You can view a complete list here.

The sandwiches use a new filet that isn’t used in the chain’s other chicken products, past or present. It also will be served in a foil bag, if the tweet below is any indication, a packaging option the chain has not used before.

CNBC reported in July that franchise operators have been pressuring the company to get into the Chicken Sandwich wars.

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“Chick-fil-A’s results demonstrate the power of chicken. Yes, we have great Chicken McNuggets and our McChicken is a very good product. But we do not compete in the premium chicken sandwich category, either grilled or crispy,” a group of franchisees wrote in a July letter to the company.

The new sandwiches look like an effort to appease those franchisees and reclaim customers who might have opted for competitors with premium chicken sandwiches. McDonald’s seems hopeful that the sandwiches will become available nationwide after this limited testing period.

“Houston and Knoxville are getting a sneak peek, everyone else should stay tuned for what’s to come in 2020,” a company rep told Business Insider.