Popeyes’ famous chicken sandwich has finally returned. It’s not in short supply and the company has had time to brace for demand — yet people still have absolutely no chill when it comes to getting their hands on one. Fights are breaking out between customers, drive-thru lines are wrapping around the block, and all the while Popeyes is making an absolute killing. But is the sandwich, priced at $3.99, too cheap for its own good? Is that price only made possible by paying minimum wage and using economies of scale as a way to drive down chicken prices via factory farming?
Should Popeyes… raise the price?
Before you start ranting in the comments section and calling me names, hear us out for just a second (and aim your anger at Uproxx Life editor Steve Bramucci because it was his idea!). As Uproxx and others have covered before, the Popeyes chicken sandwich is a far cry from the ethically pure chicken sandwich that Chick-fil-A exiles were clamoring for. Its low price is directly tied to the production process of its food. Which is exactly why Popeyes could stand to raise the price of the sandwich by as little as a dollar, and put that extra profit towards some good — think of it as the fast-food version of carbon offsets.
Speaking on the Foodbeast Katchup podcast, Steve Bramucci laid out the case for a $1 increase in price.
“If they said, ‘We’re making so much on these chicken sandwiches, we’re actually going to bump the price up to $1. If you don’t want it fine, but we’re willing to bet you’ll pay an extra $1. Here’s exactly where our dollar’s going to go… 50 cents of that dollar is going to… the rate we pay our employees. The other 50 cents of that dollar is going to go to better sourcing for our farmers.’ Those two things for a $5 sandwich? I am in that line with all those maniacs.”
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POPEYES CHICKEN SANDWICH SCENE: This is a quick look at a situation from a Los Angeles-based Popeyes drive-thru. Footage coming by way of #foodbeast 📸 @famousboi.d // we’re looking at an excited customer merging into a line of cars already waiting for Popeyes. She struck a parking post, and from the looks of it, may have hit another car. Took place at the location off La Brea / Jefferson in Los Angeles. Tray picture courtesy of @foodwithmichel. Anyone else seeing long lines at Popeyes? We’re gonna gather up our tales to chat on this week’s episode of the @foodbeastkatchup #podcast. Feel free to drop your thoughts below:
Steve’s $1 suggestion clearly wasn’t the product of labored mathematics, but the larger point holds. Would any of us actually mind paying a little more for the same sandwich to improve the livelihoods of the workers (or chickens) who are involved in creating the sandwich we all love so dearly? Popeyes has something few fast-food companies can lay claim to — a certifiable viral hit. Thanks to that momentum, Bramucci believes they can do some good for both their employees and their customer base by supporting living wages and more ethical sourcing.
Check out the full Foodbeast Katchup above and hear about how editing endless articles about chicken sandwiches makes Steve sad. Which may bring you some pleasure if you hate him now because you really don’t want to pay extra for Popeyes.