The fast-food chicken sandwich wars were one of the fiercest battles a historically hyper-competitive industry had ever seen. However, one chain stands out for its lackluster offerings in that category—McDonald’s.
One TikTok user and former McDonald’s corporate chef went viral after explaining in a video why, in his opinion, the global chain struggles in this regard.
Chef Mike Haracz posted the video, which has since amassed more than 300,000 views as of Sunday. In it, he responds to a question from a commenter who asks, “Why is [McDonald’s] new chicken sandwich so bad? It can’t compete with other restaurants.”
@chefmikeharacz Replying to @robersonsmith0 Former #McDonalds corporate chef talks about chicken sandwiches. #mcdonaldssecrets #mcdonaldslife #McDonaldsChicken #mcdonaldschickensandwich #mcdonaldschickenselects #ChickenSandwich #ChickenWars #chickenwars2023 #chickensandwiches #chickensandwichwar #FYP ♬ original sound – Chef Mike Haracz
While acknowledging the answer is subjective, Haracz, who goes by the username @chefmikeharacz, explains his perspective on the matter. In terms of credentials, Haracz says he was part of the team that helped launch the brand’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. McDonald’s is currently selling what it dubs the McCrispy.
“Chick-fil-A was rising in popularity; they are one of the main reasons why the chicken wars started,” Haracz explains. “So, I was part of the team that tried to launch a new chicken sandwich. So I, Chef Mike Haracz, helped create a chicken sandwich that went into a bunch of focus groups, consumer panels, and all that stuff.”
At the same time, Haracz says another group within the corporation—made up of owner-operators and others within the organization—decided a better approach would be a “knockoff” of a Chick-fil-A sandwich.
“We should just replicate its flavor, its style,” Haracz claims. “Well, fast-forward to all these consumer tests that I started doing. And when the panels would come back, my chicken sandwich with this sweet honey mustard sauce—this Golden Arch sauce, I working-title named it—would win in this scenario.”
Haracz says his sandwich won consumer taste test competitions five times in a row. Despite this, he says McDonald’s ultimately chose a recipe closer to the Chick-fil-A style.
“I have statistical significant data supporting that my chicken sandwich that I wanted to release—and I wanted to go with—won, but where are we at?” Haracz asks.
He then points out the similarities between McDonald’s current chicken sandwich and Chick-fil-A. “You might notice that the chicken sandwich they launched was in a foil pouch,” Haracz says. “It had butter, it had two pickles, it had a bunch of that MSG-type flavor, and it was a knock-off of Chick-fil-A. Do you think McDonald’s can out Chick-fil-A, Chick-fil-A? No, they cannot.”
Users took to the comments section to vent their opinions on the McDonald’s chicken sandwich experience.
“Tell me more about statistical significance,” asked one user.
“The real problem is that the mccrispy is worse than the value menu mcchicken. makes no sense,” wrote user Patrick McCarthy.
“Buttermilk chicken sandwich was better then mccrispy,” another user said.
“I miss the OG 2006 chicken selects and snack wraps,” user Kyle commented.
“And now they no longer have the buttermilk crispy chicken, the only good thing they had,” wrote user @CaptainNugget69.
Haracz is a fountain of information on McDonald’s. He offers wisdom on everything from how to tell whether your local franchise is a good one to how to get the proper Big Mac sauce. He also weighs in on unconventional recipes.
In an interview with the Daily Dot, Haracz said he left the project before its completion.
“I don’t have insight into the final decisions and strategies of this product,” he said. “I also know everyone is entitled to their opinion so those voices may eventually make change in their favorite or least favorite menu items.”
The Daily Dot reached out to McDonald’s via email for comment.