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Will sweet potato fries soon be on fast food menus?

Chick-fil-A's sweet potato waffles fries, used with permission

Chick-fil-A's sweet potato waffle fries, used with permission

Rumors are swirling. Who will be the first fast food restaurant to offer sweet potato fries?

“It is one of our most requested items after the spicy chicken sandwich and the milkshakes,” says Mark Baldwin, Senior Public Relations Consultant for Chick-fil-A. “We try to answer all customer requests.”

Twitter exploded with comments last week as Chick-fil-A gave away free samples of sweet potato waffle fries — in Athens. Some comments questioned why Athens was chosen as the test market instead of Atlanta, which is home to Chick-fil-A’s headquarters.

According to Baldwin, Athens, Memphis, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia were selected as test cities because there are fewer stores (there are over 130 in Atlanta) and have representations of each of their concepts: mall restaurant, drive-through only and the traditional stand-alone store.

Baldwin emphasizes that it is very early in the testing process. Chick-fil-A is only gathering anecdotal feedback from stores at this point. Down the line, they will invite customers to participate in a more formal evaluation of the product.

If you’re game, drive to Athens to test the fries, which are available for purchase through Aug. 31. How long until you could see them in the Atlanta market? Well… because farmers grow sweet potatoes once a year and tend to grow little surplus to avoid waste, the window has closed for this year, Baldwin tells me.

Just for frame of reference, you may recall that John Kessler wrote about the development of the spicy chicken sandwich last spring. He reported that it had “been on the boards since 2004, and in active development since 2008.” It was released in 2010.

Rumors have also been circulating that Wendy’s may be rolling out these fried phenoms. I checked in with Denny Lynch, Senior V.P. for Communications at Wendy’s, who confirms that they have the fries in some locations for tests to be “certain that we can operationally provide the product.” Yet, the product is still so early in the development process that he is unable to comment further.

What about you? Are you eager for sweet potato fries to hit the menus of fast-food joints? Give a shout out to these restaurants in the comments section and let them know.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

49 comments Add your comment

Joe

May 20th, 2011
11:16 am

Bring ‘em on!

Ryan

May 20th, 2011
11:29 am

I would order these at CFA every…single…time…

N

May 20th, 2011
12:33 pm

YEEEEEEESSSS, Bring them on! My Family and I can’t wait!

Judy

May 20th, 2011
12:43 pm

I would rather have a sweet potato than a white potato any day.

James

May 20th, 2011
12:47 pm

Surprised it’s taken the fast food chains this long to do this. Can’t wait to see these on menus. They’ll be huge amongst parents…

up north

May 20th, 2011
1:24 pm

meh-fried is fried

AJ

May 20th, 2011
2:22 pm

I love me some sweet potato fries, but “up north” is right – fried is fried. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re eating something healthy because you’re having a sweet potato instead of white. These are not healthy alternatives for the kids. Apples, carrots, etc. – those are the healthy alternatives. Enough of being a stick in the mud – I want some sweet potato waffle fries!!!! NOW!!!!!

James

May 20th, 2011
2:36 pm

Compared to a regular fry, a sweet potato fry is about a thousand times healthier. One (the white potato) has no nutrients, the other one of the most nutrient dense plants we eat. And certainly better than an apple – another nutrient poor fructose infusion – fried or not….

AJ

May 20th, 2011
3:43 pm

James – You’re saying a fried sweet potato is better nutritionally than a fresh apple? Do a google search on nutritional data and you’ll see how wrong you are. Additionally, white potatoes have plenty of nutrients.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

May 20th, 2011
4:11 pm

You don’t eat fast food to be healthy, you eat it for taste. I say bring them on..love them but I have to make them at home presently. One thing fast food can’t do well is low cal (1100 calorie salads were thought to be impossible until mcdonalds achieved the feat), so just enjoy the damn fries or don’t :)

Barbara

May 20th, 2011
4:18 pm

I saw a sign for Sweet Potato fries in the window at the Wendy’s on Mars Hill Road in Powder Springs/Kennesaw. I thought it was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t.

J Smith

May 20th, 2011
4:21 pm

Bush’s Chicken, a chain in Texas, already has these.

Tom

May 20th, 2011
4:37 pm

This is a menu staple at Just Dogs in Covington. Also love their Pickle Fries.

TB

May 20th, 2011
4:38 pm

Sweet potato fries are already on the menu of El Pollo Loco…they’ve beat all of the fast food chains to the punch. I haven’t tried them yet there though. The ones at Stats are decent.

Duchess

May 20th, 2011
4:54 pm

Yes, yes, yes!!! Can’t wait!!!

CHD Expert

May 20th, 2011
5:01 pm

Not to be the bearer of bad news (or good news if your a optimist) but there are many fast food restaurant chains that already offer sweat potato fries.

For restaurant industry statistics you can always check out our foodservice industry database http://www.chd-expert.com/

None the less I look forward to trying these fries

Joey

May 20th, 2011
5:13 pm

White Castle offers these already, at least in Yonkers NY.

Emjay

May 20th, 2011
5:15 pm

Sweet Potato fries are on the menu at the Wendy’s on Dallas Hwy/Barrett Pkwy in the Kennesaw/Marietta area. They come with a “vanilla brown sugar dipping sauce”. I’ve not tried them, and probably won’t. But I agree with other posters… don’t order these thinking you are making a healthy choice. A fry is a fry. If you want a tasty treat, then enjoy them. If you want a healthy option, go for the salad without cheese, croutons, bacon, etc and go easy on the dressing. :)

Peaches

May 20th, 2011
5:16 pm

@CHD Expert: that may be so but there’s only one chain that offers up that Chick-fil-A (extra pickles please!) sandwich and if they are gonna offer me sweet potato waffle fries, I’m gonna be right there! Might even snag me one of those heavenly Banana Pudding milkshakes (if they’re still on the menu).

James

May 20th, 2011
5:16 pm

@AJ – an apple consists of fructose and a smidge of vitamin C. No different to the body than a spoonful of sugar – just candy from a tree. And white potatoes are just starch – a better source of carbohydrate than an apple, for sure, but still empty calories. Unlike the mighty sweet potato :)

gunga din

May 20th, 2011
5:22 pm

tried them at Chik Filet. they are awful!! love a bake sweet potato, but the fried ones were to greasy and limp.

cj

May 20th, 2011
5:26 pm

i’ve tried them in at the athens store a couple of times. but they were not waffle cut. i like them but not with the icing dipping stuff they serve them with. i prefer mine with a little salt.

Jenny Turknett

May 20th, 2011
5:30 pm

Thanks for chiming in everyone!
CJ – I’m with you — no sugary dip. A little salt is perfect.
Gunga din, thanks for sharing. Anyone else tried them?
Tom – the pickle fries sound good, too!

Juicy Bison Goodness

May 20th, 2011
5:32 pm

FYI:

While not officially on the menu, several TED’S MONTANA GRILL locations will offer Sweet Potato Fries (instead of Idaho potato) fries if you request them.

Yes, I’ve had them, and I

L-O-V-E

them !!!!

Lynn

May 20th, 2011
5:35 pm

OMG i’m not sure which way to vote…YESSSS because i LOVE LOVE LOVE sweet potato fries or NOOOOOOO because the last thing i need….but i do love sweet potato fries!!!!

Kate

May 20th, 2011
5:44 pm

There is already a fast-food restaurant which sells sweet potato fries. Its called Hell’s Pizza, from New Zealand.

SophyB

May 20th, 2011
5:51 pm

We had sweet potato fries at a Chick fil a in Athens while there for our son’s graduation and they were great! They were waffle cut and very crispy, not greasy at all. I can’t stand their regular fries so I’d love it if they offered these everywhere.

SophyB

May 20th, 2011
5:55 pm

Also, they didn’t have an “icy dipping stuff” for them, just ketchup. I can’t imagine dipping sweet potato fries in something sweet. Maybe cj meant their ketchup was cold??

Sissy

May 20th, 2011
6:24 pm

The best sweet potatoes are grown in Tattnall co. GA

WR

May 20th, 2011
6:30 pm

Huddle House has had them on the menu for over 2 years.

Deb

May 20th, 2011
6:59 pm

Oh, I would love that! They are so much more healthier than regular fries.

Wendy's has 'em

May 20th, 2011
7:39 pm

Wendy’s on Towne Lake Pkwy in Woodstock has them.

Kat

May 20th, 2011
8:12 pm

@CHDExpert: “sweat” potatoes? Gross! Deb is fooling herself!

S

May 20th, 2011
8:32 pm

I bought Sweet Potato CHIPS at Costco, ummmm ummmmm good..

LitlPoot

May 20th, 2011
9:56 pm

My favorite – sweet tater tots at the Vortex!!

sansho1

May 21st, 2011
2:21 pm

At Locos in Athens many years ago I had a regular bar customer who grew sweet potatoes, and I’d trade him a pitcher of beer for a bag of them. We’d cut them into 1/4 inch thick chips, fry them up, lightly salt them and serve them with bleu cheese dressing. I’ve yet to have them served a better way.

Barbara

May 21st, 2011
6:32 pm

What a wonderful addition to the menu. Looking forward to this sooooooooooooo much!! :)

Oh yeah !

May 21st, 2011
7:00 pm

This would be a great addition to any restaurant. However, I hope the fries have cinnamon instead of
salt added to them.

Destin Dawg

May 21st, 2011
7:06 pm

All fast food needs to offer delicious heathy low fat sides.. sweet potato fries w/cinnamon.. cole slaw.. grits.. baked potato.. green beans.. soup/chili.. etc.. i’d pay extra like 15 cents for wheat buns.. etc..

id10t

May 21st, 2011
8:33 pm

Potatoe? check your link text on the main page

JM

May 21st, 2011
8:42 pm

Whoever wrote the link to this off the home page should know that there is no e in potato.

RaginCajun

May 22nd, 2011
10:26 am

In the article it implied that since sweet potatoes are only grown once a year that there would be a supply problem, I am pretty sure the fast food industry would freeze them….

M.Johnson

May 22nd, 2011
2:54 pm

Off topic, but still related to Chick-Fil-A: They have stopped serving the lemon pie at mall locations. I’m so upset by this. I asked a manager about it and she said they were not selling well in mall locations.

I’m surprised by that. I LOVE THEIR PIE!!!

jim

May 22nd, 2011
8:02 pm

Smiths chicken in Vidalia ga served sweet potato fries 30 years ago, Fresh cut.

Jenny Turknett

May 23rd, 2011
4:53 am

RajunCajun – Mark Baldwin from Chick-fil-A indicated that because they are grown once a year, the window for this year is closed. Sure, the fast food restaurants can freeze them, but the farmers have to know to grow them first.

Andrew S

May 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

This almost makes me want to break my boycott of CFA for being hatemongering evildoers.

Almost.

velvet elvis

May 24th, 2011
8:19 am

YES the Vortex has best sweet tater tots if you can get them, cause they sell out fast! Had them there last November on a field trip.

Rodney

May 24th, 2011
2:25 pm

I’m glad I don’t hang out or eat with you health nuts – b*tching and moaning that even though they’re sweet potatoes, they’re still fried. Please.

AND I’m happy that my Mother knew better than to forbid completely not-so-healthy snacks. She required green on our plates, always and we ate what she cooked (which was farm-to-table way before it was hipstamatic popular). But she also allowed us treats now and then without any fuss or muss.

As with anything in life, moderation is the key and I’m ALL FOR it.

Norhtherner

May 26th, 2011
2:32 pm

I am in Philadelphia and our CFA’s got ‘em! For the record they are WAY worse for me than white potatoes ’cause I almost always resist ordering the whitey waffles but can’t keep away from the dangled sweetie waffles. They are awesome! Darn you all to heck, CFA!!!!