Cafe Reviews

Chick-fil-A Hatches Its Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and Fry Girl Takes a Bite

When I shake Daniel Trotter's hand, it's soaking wet. Down two kitchen staff, the owner of the Chick-fil-A on East Mayo Boulevard in Scottsdale has graciously washed up before rushing out to chat about the chain's new Spicy Chicken Sandwich, introduced last week. It's lunchtime, the joint's packed, and Trotter's face is flushed, so I caught up with him later by phone.

Fry Girl: How come you own a Chick-fil-A and I don't?

Daniel Trotter: There's a saying within the company that it's easier to get into the CIA than it is to own a Chick-fil-A. That's because the company puts up most of the start-up money. Growing up in Atlanta [roosting headquarters of Chick-fil-A], I worked at one before I became an owner.

FG: Chick-fil-A's reservation-only promotion for a free, pre-release sampling of its Spicy Chicken Sandwich was decidedly different than KFC's approach of handing out free coupons, which always seems to be a disaster.

DT: (laughing, 'cause I'm hilarious) Yeah, I think they've tried that three times and have failed each time. I think most people expected it [the promotion] to work like a coupon. That's why we did something different, like the dedicated Spicy VIP register and reserved seating section. Plus, there's the fryer.

FG: The fryer?

DT: We have a new, dedicated fryer because its breading changes the flavor of the peanut oil we cook our other sandwiches in. That's another reason the promotion had limited reservations: We only have the one fryer.

FG: So what are people saying?

DT: About 95 percent love it, while 5 percent think it's too spicy. What did you think?

FG: Not spicy enough. I added buffalo sauce. Did I taste Lawry's seasoning salt?

DT: Can't answer that one. Only the founder [Truett Cathy] and a friend know what's in the breading.

FG: (adding "find out what's in Chick-fil-A breading" to bucket list) Are folks comparing the new sandwich to the original?

DT: Not really. We think the Spicy Chicken Sandwich lover is a new customer. My team has, though. Most of the guys like the spicy while the girls like the original. It's about 50-50.

FG: So give Fry Girl some dirt on what's next for the Chick.

DT: In December, we'll be introducing a spicy chicken biscuit to our breakfast menu. Our biscuits are made from scratch and they're sweet, so the breading will be different.

FG: Gettin' some good use out of that new fryer, eh?

DT: Yeah. What's the name of your column again?

FG: (sigh.)

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld