Toronto, February 24, 2021 — There has been a lot of buzz about the chicken sandwich wars, and there are more chicken sandwiches appearing on restaurant menus over the last few years. So, have burgers been knocked off their perch by chicken sandwiches? “No,” says The NPD Group. Burgers still rule the roost and are the overall top sandwich ordered at Canadian restaurants overall.
In the year ending 2020, burgers were included in 9.6% of all restaurant orders, which translated to 739.3 million servings of burgers. Chicken sandwiches were included in 7.3% of all restaurant orders in Canada, which amounts to 386.4 million servings, according to NPD, which continually tracks consumers’ use of Canadian restaurants and other foodservice outlets.
Although chicken sandwiches are #2 in the sandwich pecking order, these sandwiches are gaining ground as more restaurants, especially quick service restaurants, add them to their menus or enhance the chicken sandwich offerings they already have on the menu. There were 17.6 million BBQ chicken sandwich servings ordered in the year ending December 2020, up +40% from same period year ago. There were 228 million of breaded chicken sandwiches, which are the current rage, ordered last year, down -3% from a year ago. This modest decline is contrasted with the double-digit decline in total restaurant visits in the year ending December 2020 versus year ago.
“The number one request I’ve received over the past twelve months is to forecast what the future of foodservice might look like,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “In this ever-changing environment, I am reluctant to make many firm predictions, but here is one that you can count on. The popularity of burgers is going to continue for many, many years to come. Not even a global pandemic will change that.”