Burger King has brought back Chicken Fries to its restaurants nationwide for a limited time, the company said Tuesday, in response to customer demand on social media.

Officials with the Miami-based quick-service chain said the return responded to an overwhelming number of “enthusiastic tweets, Change.org petitions, dedicated Tumblr and Facebook pages, and phone calls from devoted fans” who wanted their Chicken Fries back.

A cult favorite originally launched in 2005, Chicken Fries are thin strips of fried white-meat chicken in a crispy seasoned breading, shaped like French fries and designed for dipping in the chain’s barbecue, honey mustard, ranch, zesty, buffalo or sweet-and-sour sauces. Chicken Fries are available for a recommended $2.89, with nine pieces per order.

With the roll out, the chain is also offering a selection of fan gear, such as commemorative tee shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, pins and temporary tattoos, with proceeds donated to the chain’s McLamore Foundation.

“Our fans have spoken, and we had to listen. On peak days, we’ve seen one tweet every 40 seconds about Chicken Fries, many of them directly petitioning, begging, for us to bring them back,” said Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King Corp. chief marketing officer for North America, in a statement. “When you have guests who are this passionate about a product, you have to give them what they want.”

According to Advertising Age, the campaign caught fire after BuzzFeed published a list in January about extinct foods, including lime-flavored Skittles, Planters Cheez Balls and, of course, Chicken Fries.

Marketing behind the LTO will be mostly digital, but the chain is bringing back a television ad created by agency CP&B in 2005, which will run only on Thursdays, or “Throwback Thursdays,” a social media meme when users post old photos. The one alteration in the spot is the addition of a #TBT in the lower right corner.

For Burger King, the return to a previously successful product is part of a larger effort to simplify the menu and launch fewer and more impactful products.

Burger King Worldwide Inc. last month reported an increase in net income of close to 20 percent for its June 30-ended second quarter. Same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada rose a modest 0.4 percent, but it marked the third consecutive quarter of comparable sales growth, which company officials attributed to the menu simplification moves.

The fully franchised chain includes more than 13,000 locations in 98 countries and territories worldwide.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout