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This is the Most Beloved Fast-Food Menu Item of 2020

Have you ordered fried chicken during quarantine?
fried chicken

If you've been relying on takeout and delivery during the pandemic, you're not alone. During these uncertain times, it's normal to turn to comfort food. And there's one classic American dish that's captured people's attention. Sales at fried chicken chains like Raising Cane's and Chick-fil-A were up this April, and it doesn't seem like the country's love for fried chicken is going away anytime soon.

As Nation's Restaurant News reported this week, chicken-focused restaurants saw increased business before the pandemic hit. And while sales were down in March, sales increased between 20 and 25% this April versus last April at chains like Wingstop and Raising Cane's. Popeyes saw 18.4% growth compared with last year, too. Maybe wings and chicken legs are the perfect quarantine comfort foods?

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Of course, the coronavirus also brought worries about a potential meat shortage, with some grocery stores limiting meat purchases. So it's possible that people turned to restaurant takeout for meat dishes like chicken, rather than buying raw chicken at the store. Or, maybe they just couldn't resist that crispy, juicy goodness. (If you would rather cook at home, though, you'll save a lot of fat and calories with our oven-fried chicken recipe!) And the fact that workers at meat processing facilities from brands like Tyson Foods tested positive for coronavirus probably didn't help, either.

As states continue to reopen, don't be surprised if chicken joints stay at the top of people's minds. Wanting a plate of comfort food during a global emergency is to be expected, and what better comfort food is there than a plate of delicious chicken?

And for when you're cooking chicken and other tasty foods at home, don't miss these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more