Are You a Popeyes or a Chick-fil-A Type of Leader?


Unless you have been under a rock for the last month, you are aware of the competition between the Popeyes chicken sandwich and Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.  Although I have never seen a commercial advertising the Popeyes sandwich, I have seen drive thru lines stream from the parking lot into the street and customers waiting outside in long lines to order their food inside the fast food chain. The Popeyes chicken frenzy has resulted in frustration, anger and unfortunately violence.  Various memes are floating around the internet of exhausted Popeye’s workers (none of which I find funny). This is a marketing WIN for Popeyes. Or is it?

I haven’t eaten chicken since I had a (disgusting) chicken factory encounter in 2014, so I will not be participating in the taste test. I will also spare you another political, racial, health, financial, and religious opinion of the Popeyes sandwich trend. My purpose here is to ask if you are a, “A Popeyes or a Chick-fil-A type Leader”? 

I believe that every successful leader possesses confidence in their knowledge, competence in required skills, and credibility with their team. Who wins in each category? I want to use this chicken competition to compare leadership styles, not sandwich taste. Here we go…


Both Popeyes and Chick-fil-A believe that their chicken sandwich tastes better.  They are both confident in their product and both have very satisfied customers. Their profits are also a confidence booster, however, Chick-fil-A wins this category in my opinion.  Chick-fil-A doesn’t run out of chicken sandwiches. What good is confidence if your brand promise is damaged? They did not execute the plan like there was Do you “over-promise and under-deliver” in the same manner that Popeyes has done with their chicken sandwich?


Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Again, Chick-fil-A wins this category in my opinion. Chick-fil-A has the infrastructure in place to handle large groups of customers. They have teams working together to prepare food and make and distribute orders. Chick-fil-A has two drive-thru windows and it is not unusual to see a worker outside with a tablet taking order to make the line move faster. When it gets busy inside they will also dispatch an order taker with a tablet in the dining room, I have never heard of anyone waiting two hours for food at Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A has a “rush hour” plan and ensures their staff have the tools and resources to work effectively and efficiently.


When your workers are fighting your customers and you run out of your hottest product, you have lost credibility with me.  Customers have no reason to trust or believe that Popeyes will have their sandwiches available in two hours or two days or two weeks. Someone is currently attenpting to sue the restaurant chain. Chick-fil-A wins in the credibility category as well. 

Leadership Winner Recap:

  1. Believe in yourself and your abilities
  2. Have the resources and tools to get the job done correctly 
  3. Be honest and reliable 

Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a Leadership and Career Strategist who helps mid and senior level women leaders develop the confidence, competence, and credibility to lead with authenticity and boldness. She has an extensive background in leading multi-disciplinary teams, developing and managing programs, and forming public-private partnerships. She is a college professor with a passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of leaders. Nicki is an accomplished supervisor, trainer, and group facilitator who has merged her Master of Social Work degree and over 20 years of diverse work experience into a thriving business. Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting assists companies in expanding their influence and impact by enhancing employee recruitment, increasing employee morale and performance, and decreasing employee turnover.  Nicki is a travel and cupcake lover who also enjoys reading, listening to music, and serving her community.

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