Chicken Fries return to Burger King thanks to social media push. What's a chicken fry?

Chicken Fries are being revived at Burger King after being dropped from the menu in 2012. A social media groundswell prompted Burger King to bring back Chicken Fries, which are scheduled to be on the menu for the next three months. 

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/File
Burger King signs at a restaurant in Annandale, VA. The burger chain will bring back Chicken Fries for a limited run thanks to a sustained push from fans on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Any lingering doubts about social media’s influence on QSR menu development are dispelled by Burger King’s revival of Chicken Fries.

Introduced in 2005 and dropped from the menu in 2012, Chicken Fries have been a social-media topic ever since, according to Burger King CMO-North America Eric Hirschhorn. “Literally from the day Chicken Fries left the menu there has been an incredible outcry on social media to bring them back,” he said.

But a post in January 2014 on Buzzfeed, “35 Things From Your Childhood That Are Extinct Now,” that included Chicken Fries “really lit the fire” under the chain’s determination to bring the item back. Hirschhorn called it an example of how it has “leveraged social-media listening.”

Chicken Fries return as the same product—“white meat chicken coated in a light crispy breading seasoned with savory spices and herbs” and shaped like fries—but the packaging is different although still sized to fit car cupholders.

In line with Burger King’s determination to keep operations and menu as simple as possible, Chicken Fries return only as a 9-piece pack for $2.89. The 6- and 12-piece options have been dropped because most consumers bought the 9-piece size, Hirschhorn said.

Marketing for the product will be almost entirely via social-media channels. The exception is that Burger King will air original TV spots from the 2005 launch only on Thursdays in a nod to the popular “Throwback Thursday” fad on, yes, social media. Additionally, Burger King has teamed with eBay for a fan page through which Chicken Fries fanatics can buy a variety of apparel and accessories. The eBay page will go live on August 12. Profits from the merchandise go to the chain’s McLamore Foundation.

Chicken Fries are scheduled to be on the menu for three months, “but there’s so much demand, they may not last that long,” said Hirschhorn.

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