Sonic Corp., known for its drive-in burgers and hot dogs, said Friday it has upgraded and expanded its chicken sandwich offerings.
The two chicken-breast sandwiches are available either fried or grilled in a classic version or a new Asiago Caesar Chicken Sandwich, which is being offered for a limited time.
“Chicken sandwiches are sometimes overlooked on menu, and we wanted our new premium chicken sandwiches to wake up the standard fare with a fresh flavor experience,” said Chef Clas Petersson, vice president of research and development for Sonic, in a statement.
Prices vary by location.
The Asiago Caesar Chicken Sandwich features chicken breast with sliced Asiago cheese and tomatoes on a whole-grain ciabatta bun. The Caesar dressing is based on an aioli that Petersson has developed.
The classic chicken sandwich features lettuce, tomatoes and a light mayo on a whole-grain ciabatta bun. The company said the classic grilled version has only 450 calories.
With these new menu items, Sonic joins a variety of quick-service restaurants that have beefed up their chicken offerings this fall. In September, for example, Burger King debuted a Fall Premium Chicken Menu, which it said was the largest chicken menu rollout in the chain’s history. It included a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich as well as popcorn chicken.
Even the “better-burger” segment has been adding chicken options. Smashburger in October began offering a Spinach & Goat Cheese Chicken Sandwich and a Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.
Menu expert Nancy Kruse identified increased chicken offerings as one of the top five menu newsmakers in her annual "State of the Plate" address at the MUFSO 2012 conference last month in Chicago. She even suggested that the "better chicken" trend could take over in a market saturated with better-burger concepts.
Sonic has more than 3,500 drive-ins in 43 states.