According to the vast majority of McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) franchisees, the fast-food chain's biggest competitor is Chick-fil-A
Mark Kalinowski of Kalinowski Equity Research, according to Nation's Restaurant News, surveyed McDonald's franchisees to better understand the competitive landscape. The analyst found that 89% of franchisees believe the popular chicken sandwich chain is their largest rival; 11% of respondents said Popeyes is their biggest rival.
Not one franchise owner said their biggest competitor is another burger chain.
Many franchise owners surveyed expressed a sense of urgency in bringing a premium fried chicken sandwich to the market. One operator said, "The opportunity is HUGE. We should shamelessly copy Popeyes' excellent sandwich."
Why It's Important For McDonald's
Coinciding with the survey results, McDonald's announced its Chicken McGriddles and the McChicken Biscuit sandwich will be available for purchase as of Tuesday. The fast-food chain has been testing the two breakfast chicken sandwiches regionally since 2016.
Chicken is a natural protein that can be used for breakfast items given its bland or neutral flavor profile, according to Ken Harris, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group.
"The protein lends itself to multiple forms, and I think that it literally just is people getting more creative in what they eat for breakfast," he told CNBC.
McDonald's continues to test new chicken items in a few markets, including a Crispy Chicken Sandwich in Tennessee and Houston.
McDonald's stock trades around $211.28 per share.