The Crispy Colonel, which comes in four variations, gives KFC the chance to compete with chicken sandwich king Chick-fil-A as well as traditional fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King.
KFC is rolling out a new chicken sandwich to take on Chick-fil-A — and they're bringing back a retired Colonel Sanders to do so.
On Friday, the chicken chain announced the launch of the "Crispy Colonel": an extra-crispy chicken sandwich with mayo and pickles that will be available starting Monday, April 23. The Crispy Colonel comes in four flavors — classic, Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot, and Georgia Gold honey mustard BBQ.
The new sandwich line up gives KFC the chance to compete with Chick-fil-A, a chain that's increasingly dominating the US on the strength of its sandwich, as well as burger-centric fast-food chains with chicken sandwiches on the menu.
"I really believe this chicken sandwich will be differentiated and superior to anything else on the market, because of how we're preparing it and how piping-hot fresh it's going to be," KFC's CMO Andrea Zahumensky told Business Insider.
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KFC restaurants around the world
KFC restaurants around the world
This picture taken on March 8, 2015 shows people walk past a KFC fast food restaurant in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
US fast food giant KFC has opened its first restaurant in Tibet, the venue's property manager said on March 9, more than a decade after the chain's first attempt to establish a foothold ended in controversy. / AFP / STR / China OUT / CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
TIANJIN, CHINA - 2016/02/09: Portrait of Colonel Sanders hung on the exterior of a KFC restaurant. On the early of February, KFC China triumphs in Lawsuit Over Mutant Chicken Rumors, received a combined fine of $91,191 from three companies who spread the false allegations that KFC had served genetically modified chickens with 'six wings and eight legs.'. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Picture taken on January 25, 2016, in Laval, northwestern France, shows a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant. / AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
KUNMING, YUNNAN PROVINCE, CHINA - 2015/12/14: A KFC restaurant in Changshui Airport. Yum,the parent company of KFC, has announced in October of 2015 to create a separate publicly traded China-focused company. The China division is expected to post a 10% operating profit in 2016. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ACCRA, GHANA - NOVEMBER 13: People walk past a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant on Oxford Street in the affluent Osu neighborhood, on November 13, 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The street is filled with shops, businesses and restaurants and is always bustling. (Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
A woman walks past the fried chicken shop 'KFC Halal', using the brand name of US fast food giant KFC, after it was closed by Iranian police, on November 3, 2015, in the capital Tehran. 'Police closed the 'KFC' restaurant as it didn't have authorisation and had been operating under a false license,' reported the news site of Iran's Young Journalist Club, which is affiliated with state television. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee handles a tray of food inside a KFC restaurant, operated by Yum! Brands Inc. KFC and Yoma Strategic Holdings, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Yum has had success over the past two decades by taking its KFC and Pizza Hut chains to more than 125 countries. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A sign indicates the way to the new 24-hour KFC fast food restaurant, operated by Yum! Brands Inc., in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, May 25, 2015. Yum! rose the most in more than a year after the hedge fund firm disclosed the 'significant stake' in the restaurant operator, saying the growth of the middle class in China will benefit the company. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Yum! Brands Inc. KFC restaurant stands in Shelbyville, Kentucky, U.S., on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Yum! Brands Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 21. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A car sits parked at the drive-thru of a Yum! Brands Inc. KFC restaurant in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Yum! Brands Inc. is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2014 earnings on Feb. 5. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA - 2013/11/02: The red facade of a Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, restaurant with a motor rikshaw parking in front. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past a KFC restaurant in Kolkata, India, on Monday, March 14, 2011. India faces pressure to step up its battle against price gains even after the steepest interest-rate increases among Asia's major economies, as oil costs rise and consumer demand strengthens. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A vehicle leaves the drive-thru area of a combined KFC and Taco Bell restaurant, both units of Yum! Brands Inc., in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. Yum! Brands Inc. reported a second-quarter adjusted profit of 58 cents a share. Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHINA - MAY 02: KFC signs are seen on Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday, March 2, 2007. Yum! Brands Inc., the owner of the Pizza Hut and KFC restaurant chains, posted a 14 percent first-quarter profit gain that exceeded analysts' estimates on increased sales in China, its fastest growing region. (Photo by Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 30: A KFC restaurant is shown October 30, 2006 in San Francisco, California. In New York today, KFC announced that it will phase out use of artificial trans fats at all its American restaurants to healthier linolenic soybean oil by April 2007. New York is weighing a ban on the artery-clogging oils in all city restaurants. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Zahumensky continued: "Unlike the 'burger boys', that are preparing their chicken sandwiches ... in a factory and then frying them, we are pan-preparing with our cooks in the back of the house in our restaurants, and then building them to order, and then serving them."
To launch the sandwich, KFC is bringing George Hamilton back as the "Extra Crispy Colonel." Hamilton was introduced as KFC's Colonel Sanders in summer 2016, the last time KFC made an advertising effort to push its extra-crispy chicken.
KFC launched the Zinger, a hot chicken sandwich that has proved to be a hit globally, in the US last year as a limited-time offer.
"We're going all out to establish ourselves as a sandwich player," Kevin Hochman, KFC's president, told Business Insider at the time. "It's easier said than done. We're late to the party — that's why we're throwing in the kitchen sink."
With the Crispy Colonel, KFC is doubling down on its efforts to grow its sandwich business without ditching chicken-on-the-bone.
"If you look at the growing sandwich trend — and we believe we're the fried chicken experts — we believe that fried chicken sandwiches can be a really big part of our business," Zahumensky said.