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Popeyes foot traffic jumps, Chick-fil-A's slumps in wake of Chickengate

7 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in

In the future, our children will ask what side of the war we were on. Popeye's ($NYSE:QSR) or Chick-fil-A ($PRIV_CHICKFILA).

The dust is still settling from the greatest chicken-sandwich Twitter spat in the history of both sandwiches and social media. First, the two chains went at it on Twitter over who had the best fried chicken sandwich. At the time, Chick-fil-A's social media following was massive compared to that of Popeye's. But as hundreds of thousands of internet users rushed to defend Popeye's, it picked up 25,000 new followers overnight (Chick-fil-A picked up just 10,000).

Meanwhile, reports came in that some Popeyes' locations had run out of chicken sandwich due to demand. Lines formed around blocks. Popeye's was on fire. 

So did the great chicken-sandwich war of 2019 translate into more customers for Popeye's? In short, the answer is an emphatic yes, and we have first bits of data to prove it.

The data comes via Facebook "Were Here" count, which measures the number of selfies and status updates that have been geo-tagged to companies' Facebook pages.

Poeyes "Were Here" count saw a steep rise on August 17, moving from 1.12 million to 1.13 by the 21st. 

Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A's "Were Here" count in the same period slowed its progression.

If the two trendlines hold out — and that's still hostly debatable, as Chick-fil-A is considered by most industry experts to be the hottest fast-food brand on earth — this could be the greatest fast-food coup in digital history.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

Popeye's flips Chick-fil-A the bird with 25,000 new Twitter followers

Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A: how they really measure up

Chick-fil-A isn't just the fastest growing chain, it's poised for acceleration

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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