In the chicken sandwich wars there are established sandwiches, there are better sandwiches, and there are sandwiches with more chicken. Jack in the Box has firmly invested in column C. While Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen was enjoying the sales bump from its two-week-long, sell-out chicken sandwich promotion and contrived social media feuds with Chick-Fil-A and Shake Shack, Jack in the Box was busy cooking up its own low-effort take on the current fast food flavor of the week: a chicken sandwich with not one, but four chicken patties.
Customizing a burger with multiple patties is a hallmark of the fast food industry. In-N-Out has its 4x4, Burger King has its Triple Stacker King, and even Wendy’s has experimented with a Quad Baconator. But few, if any, chains have ever done this to a chicken sandwich — except, of course, for Jack in the Box.
The chain’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich, which first debuted in 1995 with two patties, was revived once again for some reason on September 2 with the option of four chicken patties. For what it's worth, Jack in the Box claimed it wasn’t planning the launch in tandem with the Popeye’s sandwich.
There are a few good reasons why putting multiple fried chicken patties on a sandwich is a bad idea. Chicken sandwiches are breaded and can have sharp edges that benefit from being close to mayonnaise and a bun when customers go in for a bite. Fried chicken in sandwiches also tends to be salty and dry. Having multiple patties only amplifies those quality, turning one’s mouth into an instant desert after one bite. Finally, chicken sandwiches also tend to be thicker than fast-food burger patties, meaning managing four patties is just unwieldy. Taking this into consideration, most chains seem to have focused on improving the chicken recipe and quality of the chicken instead of merely giving customers more of it.
Not Jack in the Box, though. The Really Big Chicken Sandwich is comprised of a hamburger bun with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, bacon, and slices of “Swiss-style cheese” layered between two to four breaded chicken patties. Each slab of poultry looks like the type of chicken patty one might find on a school lunch tray. The breading and height, meanwhile, give the chicken the appearance of four onion rings stacked inside a burger bun — a worthy alternative to this footnote on the chicken sandwich craze.
Despite being out for three days now, the Jack in the Box’s “more is better” approach doesn’t appear to be receiving the same hype as its Popeyes counterpart. Maybe, Jack should just stick to making great fast food tacos.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect that the Really Big Chicken Sandwich came out in 1995.