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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

THE BLAZE

The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

THE BLAZE

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Shack Shack’s Latest Promo and What it Means for Chick-fil-A

On Thursday, April 4, fast food chain Shake Shack announced a promotional campaign regarding their chicken sandwich targeted at Chick-fil-A, pushing the fact that the promo is available specifically on Sundays of this month in addition to their antibiotic-free chicken.
Shake+Shack+is+going+after+Chick-fil-A+in+this+latest+marketing+run%2C+potentially+introducing+a+new+competitor+to+the+landscape+of+fast+food+chicken+sandwiches.
Leif Labianca
Shake Shack is going after Chick-fil-A in this latest marketing run, potentially introducing a new competitor to the landscape of fast food chicken sandwiches.

“Eat more antibiotic-free chicken.” 

On Tuesday, April 4, Shake Shack posted an announcement to their website with this ominous title on the top of the page. The announcement was related to one of their staple items, the Chicken Shack, a fairly standard chicken sandwich with a fried chicken breast patty, pickles, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Every Sunday in April, the fast-casual outfit will be giving out free Chicken Shacks with purchases of 10 dollars or more with a promo code you can find on the announcement itself. 

If it was not already obvious by the parody title of the announcement, this marketing campaign is taking shots at the popular chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A, which has not been hiding that their chicken contains antibiotics. In fact, it was just last month, on March 25, when news broke that they would no longer be pledging to their commitment to rid their chicken supply of antibiotics by spring of 2024. Furthermore, the company has become notorious over the years for not opening its franchises on Sundays, which is when Shake Shack is offering free sandwiches.

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Naturally, one of the first questions one might ask themselves as a result of this revelation is: “How does the Chicken Shack fare against the competition?” This includes the standard Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.

Logic dictated that a taste test was in order. As such, I decided the best way to get a feeling for the sandwich was to go and try it myself. Sadly, my taste test concluded that the Chicken Shack only meets the bar, and not surpasses it. This is not to say that it was bad. In fact, it would have been impossible to be bad, given how boring it was. The taste wasn’t very exciting, which isn’t necessarily a surprise given that it’s a pretty bog standard chicken sandwich, but what really sold the boring element to me was the fact that there was a very limited chicken taste. It was mostly mayo and pickles; part of the reason for this was the fact that the sandwich I received had a patty that was mostly breading. 

Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, does a much better job at balancing the breading and chicken than most, leading to a more chicken-y chicken sandwich. However, despite this, Chick-Fil-A’s deluxe chicken sandwich, which contains tomato and cheese in addition to the Chicken Shack’s ingredients (minus the mayonnaise), suffers a similar problem, plainly due to the fact that the deluxe just has more toppings, mudding out the chicken flavor. Hence, just by my account of the taste portion, Shake Shack’s Chicken Shack is just on par, if not slightly worse, than the equivalent deluxe chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

Something particularly frustrating about the promo was the hurdles that I needed to jump just to take advantage of it. Shake Shack is among several fast food chains to have kiosks available for quicker ordering, as opposed to mobile ordering or in-restaurant waiters/waitresses.  This was one of the ways they advertised that you could get your promo through, but after filling out an order through one of the said kiosks, I was never presented with a section to enter the promo code, so I spent some time trying to figure out how to get it to come up with no success. 

Eventually, I managed to get access to the promo, but it required going and explaining the situation to one of the employees at the register, which ended up being confusing and convoluted in its own right;  the promo code section was visible on mobile ordering, however. So, word to the wise, if you choose to participate in this campaign, it would be best to do it through mobile ordering.

With that being said, it would be a disservice to take this development in the culinary sphere and merely use it as an excuse to review a chicken sandwich. 

So what does this mean for Shake Shack? What does it mean for Chick-fil-A? Well, it at least introduces an alternative to the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich that lacks the use of antibiotics to those who weren’t aware of it. However, its relative lack of reach and access means that its impact on Chick-fil-A will be minimal. Chick-fil-A boasts 3059 locations in the United States, as opposed to Shake Shack’s 359 locations. Even in the context of Rock Ridge High School, the closest standalone Chick-fil-A location is only 4.5 miles away from the campus, whereas the closest standalone Shake Shack location is 18.8 miles away from campus. Furthermore, Chick-fil-A is far more enveloped in marketing and advertising campaigns on both television and social media than Shake Shack is. 

All this is to say that although this promo may cause a slight boost in Shake Shack’s numbers, due to its inaccessibility and lack of marketing compared to Chick-fil-A, it isn’t likely to steal away a significant amount of customers from them.

Despite this, it’s not worth writing off Shake Shack completely if you are looking for an alternative to Chick-fil-A or are just looking for a new place to eat in general. If having antibiotic-free chicken is important to you, then Shake Shack’s Chicken Shack is definitely a worthy option, and as previously mentioned, the rest of their menu is excellent, especially compared to their other fast food competition. 

The last Sunday of their promo is Sunday, April 28, so if you are at all interested in trying this potential alternative, there is still time. The two closest participating locations are both located in Tysons Corner, so you can make a short little trip about it. With that being said, do not expect Shake Shack to be the nail in the coffin of the chicken empire that is Chick-fil-A.

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About the Contributor
Leif Labianca
Leif Labianca, Staff Writer
Leif Labianca is in his senior year of high school, and is a first year staff writer on The Blaze. Throughout Labiance’s life, music has been a part of it. His earliest memory with music is him listening to and understanding the lyrics, rhythm, melody, and meaning of each song. One lyrical artist that comes to Labiance’s mind first when thinking about music is the American rapper Robert Bryson Hall II, “Logic.” While a frequent consumer of music, Labiance isn’t a critic of it; he enjoys all types of music not just for its rhythm or lyrics, but the message that is underneath the melody as well. Labiance hopes to explore more music during his time in The Blaze.

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