Yes. The sandwich is good.
August 30, 2019 8:33 AM   Subscribe

“In press releases and interviews, fast-food corporations don’t call consumers “customers”; instead, they’re “fans.” Meanwhile, these gimmicks do nothing to ameliorate the larger issues surrounding the fast food economy, from environmental degradation to union-busting. According to PayScale, the average Popeyes employee makes $9.15 an hour. With this sandwich frenzy, they’ll be overworked with no increase in compensation.” The clamor over Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich is just the latest example of how fast-food marketing infiltrates our lives. (Outline) 'I was working like a slave': Exhausted Popeyes employees describe a harrowing situation amid chicken-sandwich chaos, including working 60-hour weeks and shifts with no breaks (Business Insider) “The fast food industry is the most unequal in the country, with employees occupying the position of the lowest-paid American workers, while the CEOs are some of the highest paid.” Could we imagine a Democratic Socialist fast food system? (Jacobin)
posted by The Whelk (50 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 


I'm glad Jacobian doesn't think we'll have to lose our chains after all.
posted by ikea_femme at 9:03 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


I'm sure I would enjoy eating that sandwich just fine, but what is wrong with people that they would wait in a huge line for one? It's a....fast food chicken sandwich. There is a ceiling as to how good that can be.
posted by thelonius at 9:22 AM on August 30 [22 favorites]


The best chicken sandwiches are found at little family-onwed, independent restaurants. In fact, I think I will go to the one up on Main Street right now for a honey dijon chicken and basil with onions, peppers and mozzarella.
posted by tommyD at 9:25 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]




this came up at the last national meeting of the Gay Cabal: "How can we destroy Chick-fil-A in the most extra way possible?"
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:29 AM on August 30 [87 favorites]


All this has done for me is prevent me from having Popeye's spicy chicken and biscuit. That prevention has served to just make me crave Popeye's spicy chicken and biscuit.

That and illogically hate these people that are keeping me from getting that chicken.
posted by linux at 9:34 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]




JUSTIN MCELROY: [sing-shouting] I WANNA M—

GRIFFIN: [turning directly to the camera] Folks, we have a lot of fun here but it’s important to remember that there is no ding dang ethical Wanting To Munch under capitalism.

JUSTIN: [hits button on soundboard] HELLO TORONTO
posted by cortex at 9:39 AM on August 30 [32 favorites]


Here's a social media/marketing/cultural event that anyone can buy into for the price of a fast food meal, plus you have to eat anyway. As opposed to Fyre Festival or whatever. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 9:41 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I think there's a consensus that democratic socialism would radically change the restaurant industry, but I don't think it would be in a way that encourages high consumer demand, competition among businesses and innovation. Prices would increase to what these items are actually worth and the average employee would have more free time to make their own food or make purchases based on other factors besides convenience, both of which would lower demand. We'd eat less fast food and it would be okay. The Jacobin author doesn't have to just guess, he can look at the fast food landscape in say, Norway.
posted by Selena777 at 9:43 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Could we imagine a Democratic Socialist fast food system?

Fully Automat-ed Luxury Communism?
posted by acb at 9:53 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


From the Jacobin article:

"Vegetarian options like Burger King’s new plant-based Impossible Whopper should also be invested in. If Burger King can produce a product nearly indistinguishable from real meat, why can’t Popeyes?"

Burger King didn't produce the Impossible Burger. Impossible Foods did. Popeyes can't produce an Impossible Chicken Sandwich because Impossible Chicken doesn't exist yet. Impossible Foods is a purely capitalist enterprise with as-of-yet uncalculated environmental cost. Their products are also no healthier than meat, but because they are vegetarian people will probably eat more of them under the incorrect assumption that not meat == healthy.

That stuck out to me as a wrong-headed point to make in an otherwise great article.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:57 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Now I have the Sweeney Todd soundtrack in my head.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:57 AM on August 30


Now I want a chicken sandwich that is apparently completely sold out--I guess The Outline is part of their media plan. On my way to work, there are homophobic chicken sandwiches and $18 hipster chicken sandwiches, so another choice would be nice.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:58 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I just had one delivered. It was quite good, and the spicy level is higher than one expects from a chain.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:00 AM on August 30


I had the Popeye's spicy chicken sandwich a month ago and I thought it was a fine sandwich particularly for the price point. Not much spice but decent quality crunch and moist chicken.

However, if I am going to invest even a teeny tiny amount of effort to get a sandwich there are awesome sandwiches to be had all over Chicago that are so much better.

Unless your time is free (and it never should be - you're going to die - maybe sooner if you eat too many fried chicken sandwiches - value your life!) you need to understand that being in line actually costs you more than paying two or three times as much for a higher quality sandwich.

Personally in Chicago, I recommend Roost Carolina Chicken's Nashville Hot on a Biscuit as my value/quality sweet spot (about double the cost of Popeye's). Roister's brunch chicken sandwich if I am feeling like throwing my money around (I don't even look at how much it costs - it's just going to be more than I should spend). Honey Butter for my fully automated gay space communism chicken sandwich because they treat their staff right - paid sick days, health care and such.

I'll have a Popeye's sandwich if I am hungry at precisely the moment I am near a Popeye's and they are not busy. Otherwise its value prop is not worth the effort.

(I originally tried Popeye's for the first time after Chris Rock talked it up to Seinfeld on Getting in Cars with Comedians. I thought it was pretty good fried chicken. Maybe the best fast food fried chicken).
posted by srboisvert at 10:02 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Popeyes can't produce an Impossible Chicken Sandwich because Impossible Chicken doesn't exist yet.

Well, Impossible better get working because KFC's already hitched their wagon with Beyond Meat.
posted by linux at 10:08 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


you need to understand that being in line actually costs you more than paying two or three times as much for a higher quality sandwich

For an individual, maybe. But what happens when you extrapolate for a family of five:

$5 sandwich x 5 = $25 meal

$15 sandwich x 5 = $75 meal
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:09 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


you need to understand that being in line actually costs you more than paying two or three times as much for a higher quality sandwich
For an individual, maybe. But what happens when you extrapolate for a family of five:

$5 sandwich x 5 = $25 meal

$15 sandwich x 5 = $75 meal
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:09 PM on August 30 [+] [!]
there is no calculating the cost to one's soul of standing in line with a family of five tho
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:14 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]




Their products are also no healthier than meat, but because they are vegetarian people will probably eat more of them under the incorrect assumption that not meat == healthy.

A lot of people, like me, will eat the products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat not because we are under any illusion that they are healthier, but because we prefer that the food we eat does not requiring killing animals, but still want something that tastes like a traditional beef burger.

I'm a vegetarian now, after eating meat most of my life, strictly for ethical reasons; it has nothing whatsoever to do with eating "healthier"... As evidenced by the fact that I had a veggie-burger for lunch, along with half a box of Cheese-Its, a candy bar, and two cans of diet soda.
posted by JeffL at 10:25 AM on August 30 [37 favorites]


A lot of people, like me, will eat the products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat not because we are under any illusion that they are healthier, but because we prefer that the food we eat does not requiring killing animals, but still want something that tastes like a traditional beef burger.

There is also the sustainability question. Population growth will continue to demand the mass production of food, regardless of first world fancies like heirloom tomatoes and kobe beef, and we simply cannot sustain that with naturally grown meat. Meatless substitutes and possibly vat grown meat are what we've got to look forward to in the future.

That and the Amazon is burning.
posted by linux at 10:28 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


A lot of people, like me, will eat the products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat not because we are under any illusion that they are healthier, but because we prefer that the food we eat does not requiring killing animals, but still want something that tastes like a traditional beef burger.

Yes, this is me. I have almost entirely eliminated beef from my diet (I don't make a big deal about it if I'm served it and every now and then a charcuterie platter gets me) and am working on dairy primarily due to the UN report on the climate crisis. I want to support the effort that goes into bringing plant-based alternatives to market.

I also eat vegan before 6, although my children do not. We don't actually go to fast food restaurants much,* but this summer we selected A&W on our road trip because they were offering the Impossible Burger.

*Growing up we went about 2 times a week, and every time McDonalds released a new anything we were down with it.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:31 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


The sandwich is good.
THE SANDWICH IS LIFE.
posted by thelonius at 11:32 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Did I miss something where the rest of the fried chicken at Popeye's is somehow inferior to the chicken used in the sandwich? Y'all are just hyped up over some mayo and a bun?

Because a 5pc tender box with cajun fries and red beans/rice is pretty freaking great on its own. And they have plenty in stock.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:42 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


That and the Amazon is burning.

Cattle ranching is actually not the main reason the Amazon is burning; the real situation is more complicated and stems from the election of a real nasty dictator who doing it to crush indigenous people and the Brazilian bourgeoisie.

That's a derail for this thread, but it is probably something to keep in mind when discussing eating less meat for ethical and environmental reasons.

posted by sciatrix at 11:57 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


Ikea_femme: that is some damn fine wordplay, my hat is fully off

Imagine if Popeyes had some kind of profit sharing. All those employees would see a benefit...could be life changing. We should insist on this for every future instance of sudden viral success.
posted by captain afab at 12:03 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Personally I am just glad that someone is taking on Chick-fil-a directly. It's like the rest of the industry had just decided to let them own the niche they exist in, despite being run by unsubtle bigots and closed on Sundays. I've always sort of fantasized that someone would open what was effectively a Chick-fil-a under a slightly different name and beat them at their own game.

So for that reason alone I'm kinda rooting for Popeye's and happy the product is doing so well; not only is it a shot across Chick-fil-a's bow directly, but it also lets the rest of the industry know that there's an interest in that type of product. I've read some articles suggesting that all the other players—KFC, Arby's, BK, eventually probably even McDonalds—will introduce or retool products based on the success Popeye's has had, and that means more competition for "Chikin-n-Bigotry".

I'm not suggesting the whole industry doesn't suck, but Chick-fil-a sucks particularly much and I'm happy to see them get taken down a peg.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:07 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Joke from my childhood:
Did you know that Popeye's is a front for the Vatican?
That's why they called it Pope Yes.
posted by Mchelly at 12:21 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Did I miss something where the rest of the fried chicken at Popeye's is somehow inferior to the chicken used in the sandwich?

No, but apparently it has to be a sandwich to convince people to finally stop patronizing Homophobes-R-Us.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:47 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


We have bojangles hereabouts. No need for popeyes because bojo has superior chicken to that other chickyfilly place.

And it's not just fast food that feeds on their workers; any retail or service job pays less than a living wage.
posted by mightshould at 12:53 PM on August 30


Well, Impossible better get working because KFC's already hitched their wagon with Beyond Meat.

Honestly, KFC could just keep the chicken and make the sandwich out of the batter and I'd be happy. Happier.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:53 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Did you know that Popeye's is a front for the Vatican?
That's why they called it Pope Yes.


Hee!

I’ve been calling Big O Tires “bigot ires” for ages but as others have pointed out, it really should be a nickname for that other chicken place...
posted by armeowda at 1:01 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


That Jezebel article introduced Ligotti-style writing to food journalism:

Think about the sandwich you’re going to eat—consider the chicken—and then eat it, understanding that your role in this horrible chain is to consume and then eventually, to be consumed by the one force larger than yourself, which is death. Besides, nothing this delicious or controversial lasts forever: Popeyes announced on Tuesday that until further notice, the sandwich is sold out. Death’s icy grip eventually comes for all of us, sparing no one—including viral chain restaurant sandwiches.
posted by doctornemo at 2:02 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


How can we destroy Chick-fil-A in the most extra way possible?

After dark, strike ‘Chick-Fil-A’ and paint ‘@POPEYES’ on their billboards.

All is fair in war and marketing.
posted by cenoxo at 2:40 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


there is no calculating the cost to one's soul of standing in line with a family of five tho

And suddenly standing in line (by yourself, without the rest of the family) is actually a value-add, rather than a net loss.
posted by asnider at 2:42 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Think about the sandwich you’re going to eat—consider the chicken—and then eat it, understanding that your role in this horrible chain is to consume and then eventually, to be consumed by the one force larger than yourself, which is death. Besides, nothing this delicious or controversial lasts forever: Popeyes announced on Tuesday that until further notice, the sandwich is sold out. Death’s icy grip eventually comes for all of us, sparing no one—including viral chain restaurant sandwiches.
I guess this is what you get when you form a helping of extruded internet article product into the shape of a chicken sandwich.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 3:26 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


A good (according to my friends, anyway) chicken tender drive through opened up next door to my nearest Chick-fil-a drive through. It does not, however, serve its chicken in sandwich form. It's still open years later, but gets a tiny fraction of the business that Chick-fil-a gets. Is it the brand recognition? That it's on a bun?
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:04 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Did I miss something where the rest of the fried chicken at Popeye's is somehow inferior to the chicken used in the sandwich?

I don’t get this either. I don’t eat a whole lot of fried chicken for health reasons, but Popeye’s is my favorite fast food instance of the stuff by an order of magnitude, and I prefer it to the majority of higher-end offerings I’ve tried as well, at least in NYC.

I also haven’t had the sandwich, so I guess I’m just feeling superior & I’ll take it where I can get it.
posted by STFUDonnie at 4:29 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I mean we can all talk about the sandwich places around us that are better than Popeye's but I've been to the suburbs of Oklahoma City and there is nothing.
posted by schroedinger at 4:47 PM on August 30


Oh, wow, they have Popeye’s in Oklahoma now?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:46 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


It's funny, I drove thru part of suburban Oklahoma City many years ago, and I ate a delicious spicy pork sandwich from a generic strip mall outlet. So from that I just assumed that all not-chain fast food in suburban Oklahoma City was great.
posted by ovvl at 8:43 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I will be forever indebted to the person who knows where I can find the original tweet for the joke

Communism is when I can walk into a room made of living lab meat and carve off a juicy steak.

Because like, no, but also why not aspire, why not dream of a future which is truly different.
posted by Acid Communist at 1:05 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Ten years ago or so I got pretty excited about Belo Horizonte style People's Restaurants offering nutritious meals, freshly prepared with local ingredient, at publicly subsidized prices.

Socialized restaurants are a thing the state should have a public health interest in.
posted by latkes at 7:07 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Thank you for telling the Pope yes joke.
posted by eustatic at 7:57 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


I'd go try one but the local Popeye's got closed for a cockroach infestation.
posted by charred husk at 11:02 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Sandwiches are a different category of food from bone-in friend chicken, or even chicken tenders. So, yes, the fact that Popeyes is selling a chicken sandwich, as opposed to just fried chicken or tenders, is significant. I think a fair number of people decide they want a "chicken sandwich" as opposed to "chicken"; the two are not substitutable.

Personally I've never been much of a fan of Chick-fil-a's sandwiches, even just in the abstract and without the side of homophobia, but I know a lot of people who are. And they wouldn't have been talked into going to Popeyes—or any other "non sandwich" place—when they are looking to eat a sandwich.

It's like the difference between wanting pizza, and getting lasagna.

And the more places that decide to serve chicken sandwiches specifically, until people burn out on them and don't want them anymore, the better—since that's Chick-fil-a's core product, I'm all for destructive accelerationism in this case. CHICKEN SANDWICHES EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. EAT THEM UNTIL YOU CAN HAVE NO MORE. EAT THEM UNTIL THE VERY THOUGHT MAKES YOU WRETCH.

I want chicken sandwiches rammed down the gullet of Americana until there is no more room and the public moves onto something else en masse. Popeyes will be fine when this happens; they have other products. But if they scorch the culinary earth in the process with viral marketing, Chick-fil-a might not be.

I want to watch the chicken sandwich world burn.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:34 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


And the more places that decide to serve chicken sandwiches specifically, until people burn out on them and don't want them anymore, the better—since that's Chick-fil-a's core product, I'm all for destructive accelerationism in this case. CHICKEN SANDWICHES EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. EAT THEM UNTIL YOU CAN HAVE NO MORE. EAT THEM UNTIL THE VERY THOUGHT MAKES YOU WRETCH.

Challenge accepted!

Like 3 weeks ago, I was in the Atlanta airport, and got a chicken po'boy at Popeye's. You know, the chicken sandwich they've had on the menu for years. Heating up a bun and placing some chicken tenders, shredded lettuce, and mayonnaise on it took far longer than you'd think it would.

How the world has changed.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:42 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]



Fully Automat-ed Luxury Communism?


one jokes but I've been advocating for a city-run, unionized, automat/cafeterias in every zip code, using produce from within 100 miles at free or nearly free prices for a LONG time in order to break the backs of the i corrupt, exploitative, wage stealing, sexually harassment filled food industry.

let's see them actually have some organized competition for once. We could hire all the out of work artisans to make them all pretty and unique
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 PM on September 11


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