Popeyes told customers to bring their own buns to get chicken sandwiches — but some workers say they were left out of the loop

The massively popular chicken sandwich sold out at Popeyes two weeks after it was launched.

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The massively popular chicken sandwich sold out at Popeyes two weeks after it was launched.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

  • Popeyes recently announced a “BYOB” – or “Bring Your Own Bun” – program in stores after selling out of its wildly popular chicken sandwich.
  • Customers who bring their own buns can order three chicken tenders to make their own sandwich.
  • Business Insider spoke with seven Popeyes employees across the country who had never even heard of the program.
  • “Popeyes Restaurant Team Members across the country have been briefed on the BYOB campaign and we are working with suppliers to have our new Chicken Sandwich back in restaurants soon,” a spokesperson for the restaurant wrote in a statement to Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Popeyes announced a new “BYOB” – or “Bring Your Own Bun” – program on Thursday, a few weeks after it sold out of its wildly popular chicken sandwich.

The new option, which a Popeyes spokesperson said was available across the country, is supposed to allow customers to bring their own buns to the store and order three chicken tenders to construct their own sandwich. The meat used for this new sandwich option is not the same meat that was used in the original chicken sandwich.

But according to a group of Popeyes employees, not all of the chain’s workers were alerted to the offering.

Business Insider spoke with seven Popeyes employees across the country who said they had not heard of the policy at all. Representatives who answered the phone at Popeyes locations in New Jersey, Iowa, and Florida said they had either never heard about the program or that their location was not involved with it.

Read more: Exhausted Popeyes employees describe a harrowing situation amid chicken-sandwich chaos, including working 60-hour weeks and shifts with no breaks

“I had no idea about this!” a West Coast Popeyes employee who has been working at the company for four months said over email. “I think this is funny and I’m actually curious to see if people would actually come to buy just three tenders.”

She added: “I just hope it doesn’t get too hectic like it did when we had the sandwiches.”

A store manager who has been working at an East Coast Popeyes since February said she hadn’t heard of such a policy.

“We are not allowed to serve ‘knockoffs’ of the sandwich when we don’t even have the mayonnaise or pickles that are usually put on the sandwich,” this employee said via email.

The employee said that she consulted with her district manager, who said her location would not be participating in the program.

Read more: A Chick-fil-A employee gave out chicken sandwiches to ‘stressed out’ Popeyes workers amid viral battle between the 2 chains

“I think it’s more of a gimmick,” said a Popeyes crew member in Orange County, California, who had also not heard about the program until Business Insider asked him about it. “I worked yesterday, and nobody brought in their buns.”

A Popeyes spokesperson said in a statement that the response to the chicken sandwich was “amazing.”

“Guests came from near and far to try it and share their excitement for the product. They loved it so much that we sold out,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “While we work to get the sandwich back in our restaurants, we wanted to offer our guests a fun way to satisfy their Popeyes sandwich cravings. Popeyes Restaurant Team Members across the country have been briefed on the BYOB campaign and we are working with suppliers to have our new Chicken Sandwich back in restaurants soon.”

Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich in August, sparking a massive Twitter debate over which chain had the better sandwich: Popeyes or Chick-fil-A. In the two weeks after it was launched, Popeyes locations across the country were overloaded with customers. Five employees who spoke with Business Insider said they were worked to exhaustion before the menu item ran out on August 27.

If you’re a fast-food employee with a story to share, email retail@businessinsider.com.