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

3 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in

What's better than a fried-chicken Twitter battle on a Monday?

Stick with us.

After Popeyes ($NYSE:QSR) added a new chicken sandwich to its menu, Chick-fil-A ($PRIV_CHICKFILA) tweeted earlier today that its iteration of the fried chicken sandwich was "the original". It did so without mentioning Popeyes by name which, in the Twitterverse, is called a "subtweet", which, in the Twitterverse, is a questionable move. Understandably, Chick-fil-A has a bit of a swagger right now, as it's considered by many to be the fastest growing fast food chain.

But Popeyes wasn't having any of that, so it responded with "... y'all good?" in a clear taunt and recognition of the sub-tweet.

The response lit up Twitter with over 70,000 likes and 26,000 retweets so far. Sadly, for Chick-fil-A at least, its original tweet has only seen 2,000 likes and 373 retweets, in what is being seen as a social-media rally in favor of Popeyes.

First, a little level setting here. Chick-fil-A far outpaces Popeyes when it comes to Twitter followers, by a factor of 9.6 to 1. Which makes what happened even more surprising.

But other data points to clear wins for Popeyes. Popeyes isn't just beating Chick-fil-A in retweets today. Its global store count outpaces that of Chick-fil-A.

Popeyes has a solid presence not just in the United States, but also in South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia (it's also huge in South Korea).

The number of Popeyes locations throughout the world tops 4,000, with 3,000 of those in the United States alone. Its revenue in 2016 was $269 million. In 2018, it was bought out by Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International (it also owns Tim Hortons), which reported 2018 revenues totaling $5.4 billion.

Popeyes restaurant foot traffic, as measured by Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) "Were Here" count, is healthy. It's grown to 1.12 million and looks on pace to continue to grow in popularity. But before you give Popeyes the social media edge, see below.

Chick-fil-A isn't too far behind with more than 2,300 locations throughout The United States and Canada. Meanwhile, its revenue in 2018 was $10.5 billion - almost twice that of Popeyes plus its siblings under RBI.

Chick-fil-A's "Were Here" count is closing in on a massive 8 million — that's 8 million selfies, check-ins, and Facebook status updates from Chick-fil-A's 2,300 locations. That far outpaces Popeye's count.

So who wins? Only one way to find out: see you at lunch tomorrow.

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: 

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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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