Customer Service Body Slams and Drive-Thru Brawls: Popeyes New Chicken Sandwich is Causing Mayhem

Matt Wujciak


While Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s may be competing in the chicken sandwich business, the latter has pulled away in the media industry as of late, and for all the wrong reasons. 

A chicken sandwich from hell

On August 12th, Popeyes released a new chicken sandwich that stirred customers into a barbaric frenzy in attempt to get their hands on the sandwich. Whether it be poorly managed inventory or unpredictably high demand, the fried chicken product sold out a couple of weeks later. 

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Back in September, a group of people at a Popeyes in Houston Texas became upset that the restaurant was out of their new and highly publicized chicken sandwich, KHOU reported. So upset that one of them pulled a gun, police said

Earlier this month, the sandwich made a return, and so too did the barbarism. On November 4th, Kevin Tyrell Davis, 28, was stabbed to death after an argument with another customer while the two were in line to order at a Maryland Popeyes, according to CNN. Police say surveillance video appears to show Davis attempting to cut in a line set up specifically for customers planning to order the chicken sandwich.

One day later in Columbia, 29-year-old Popeyes male employee Deriance Ra’Shaiel Hughes was arrested after police say he body-slammed a female customer, WSMV reported.  After the incident was caught on video, Fox News reported a piece on another witness/employee’s perspective on how the video “doesn’t tell the full story,” arguing that the woman made a racist remark.

A brawl broke out in Brooklyn after a customer says she paid for what she was told was the last chicken sandwich in the store, MTO News reported. She says the restaurant then gave her sandwich to another customer, causing an argument and ultimately a fight between the woman and the employee.

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As of most recently, The New York Post reported: “More violence erupted at a Popeyes fast food restaurant — this time a wild brawl between two couples at a California drive-thru was caught on camera, a report said. The mayhem unfolded Friday night at an outpost in Temecula when the couple in one car honked their horn at the customers in front of them for taking too long, according to FOX 5 San Diego. A witness in line behind the brawlers, Gigi Drummond, filmed the melee, which kicked off with two women hitting each other. One man from the front car then jumps into the fray, prompting the other man to also join in.” 

Behind the scenes

Each of these instances have gained national attention through viral publicity. And in each of these reports, the media is linking it back to the chicken sandwich. There is undoubtedly a correlation between crimes committed in Popeye’s restaurants and the release dates of the new Popeyes chicken sandwich. 

However, it’s not the chicken sandwich itself that’s body slamming customers or drawing firearms. As more people aggregate to buy Popeyes’ new product, tempers flare and inhumane crimes are committed because of violent socioeconomic triggers that Popeyes is contributing to through poor management. 

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For example, in the case of the first incident that gained national attention since the new chicken sandwich was released, murder took place outside of a Popeyes in Oxon Hill, Maryland. According to Oxon Hill crime rates, “The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Oxon Hill is 1 in 34. Based on FBI crime data, Oxon Hill is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to Maryland, Oxon Hill has a crime rate that is higher than 84% of the state's cities and towns of all sizes.”

Customer Service practices and Management

When a franchise releases a (literally) dangerously successful product with a history of low inventory and scarcity in an area of high crime rates, proper management and efficient customer service practices are a must for the franchise in order to control consumer behavior. If those measures can’t be taken, the product can’t be released. If it is, the franchise is accountable for not only poor customer service reviews and bad publicity, but they’re liable for the safety of their customers. As a result, Popeyes is facing scrutiny from the media and allegations from customers, when some of these crimes may have been prevented had Popeyes had better franchisee and corporate practices.