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Contributed Photo from Trozzolo / Seventy large golden eggs, hidden around Chattanooga, contain cash prizes and gift cards for free McDonald's Crispy Chicken Sandwiches.

Chattanooga-area McDonald's are lobbing some eggs into the chicken sandwich wars.

To celebrate the addition of the Crispy Chicken Sandwich to menus last week, local owner-operators went around town Sunday hiding 70 large, golden eggs, Easter Bunny style. The eggs are filled with cash prizes and gift cards, including 300 free sandwiches.

"They're in all of Hamilton County and a little bit beyond," said Kerry Hoyle, owner-operator of the Red Bank location.

If there's a McDonald's in your neighborhood, he said, "there's a very good chance" there are eggs hidden in the neighborhood too.

The McDonald's sandwich is the latest entry in the so-called chicken sandwich wars, which has produced at least 20 new sandwiches in the last 18 months as chain eateries seek to capitalize on the golden-fried perfection of a chicken fillet. Most of the new sandwiches feature a large breast fillet, premium bun and crisp pickles.

McDonald's version is a crispy, white-meat fillet topped with crinkle-cut pickles and served on a toasted, buttered potato roll. There's also a spicy version, with pepper sauce, and a deluxe served with shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes and mayonnaise.

The battle for dominance in the chicken sandwich wars actually began with little fanfare, according to RestaurantBusinessOnline.com. Popeyes' launch of a fried chicken sandwich on Aug. 12, 2019, went "largely unnoticed until rival Chick-fil-A took to Twitter to tout its sandwich as the original. Popeyes retaliated with a gentle tweet dripping with Southern charm, and a social-media frenzy ensued."

Within days, Popeyes had lines out the door and some locations ran out of chicken, prompting national media coverage. A Chattanooga man even filed a lawsuit against Popeyes, alleging false advertising and deceptive business practices.

Hoyle said he hopes the Golden Egg Hunt will make the launch "buzz-worthy" as people discover the prize eggs, which are equipped with Snapchat geofencing to aid in the search.

"It's our biggest product launch of the year," he said. "I think you'd be hard-pressed to not know about a McDonald's Crispy Chicken Sandwich by the end of the week.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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