This Craze Will (Hopefully) Be Over Soon, but You'll Always Remember the 100% Profit You Made

Tapping into the right trend and playing it correctly can bring outrageous returns. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the rise of "Big Tech" comes to mind, or L3Harris Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LHX) and the spread of combat drones.

Investors who spotted those trends and - even better - traded the shares correctly have doubled their stake dozens of times at least.

Now, if you've been keeping up with the news... you probably haven't heard of this trend.

But if you follow pop culture or social media or the last three minutes of "Entertainment Tonight," then you're definitely aware that fried chicken is sweeping the nation...

... and a food fight is raging that makes "less filling, tastes great" look like child's play.

Today I've got a (kind of) "defense" play lined up for us - defense in the 2019 Fried Chicken Sandwich War.

I know - it's completely absurd. It sounds ridiculous. I admit it.

But this is the truth: The profit potential is serious. The gains you stand to make on the Fried Chicken Sandwich War will have you laughing all the way to the bank...

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Yes, This Is Really Happening Out There

Fried chicken is big right now.

Kentucky Fried Chicken just launched a sandwich into space. Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) is testing out meatless fried chicken.

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But nothing compares to what Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen just did. The restaurant's newest product is causing hold-ups and litigation in a frenzy that can only be compared to the boy-band craze of the '90s.

On Aug. 12, 2019, Popeye's premiered its first-ever chicken sandwich - a buttermilk-battered filet with pickles and mayonnaise on a brioche bun.

Fifteen days later, it ran out.

The sandwich's popularity didn't truly take off, however, until a week after the new product hit stores. Instigating the craze was a certain social media site that's become a household name in the market the past few weeks - Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR).

Let me put it this way: If there's a fried chicken war on, Twitter is the battlefield. Popeyes' new sandwich spurred some competition in the fast food industry, causing the No. 1 chicken chain in the country to fight back via social media.

On Aug. 19, Chick-fil-A Inc. tweeted, reminding followers of its own beloved chicken sandwich:

Then, Popeyes returned fire...

And that's how the war started.

Now, like I said, I'm aware of how incredibly absurd this all sounds. But bear with me, because there's a serious profit opportunity hidden in all the madness...

Anyhow, Popeyes gained 25,000 new followers after that tweet. Store traffic doubled. Lines started wrapping around restaurants. A KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst reckoned the chicken chain sold about 1,000 sandwiches in each store per week - that accounts for around 30% of Popeyes' weekly sales. Employees had to work 60-hour weeks to keep up with the demand.

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I wasn't kidding about the hold-ups and court cases, either. When a group of five people found that their local Popeyes had sold out of the sandwich, they held the restaurant cashier at gunpoint. One man even sued the chicken chain for running out of stock.

Everyone was dying to taste the legendary sandwich - but now, no one can.

On Aug. 27, Popeyes took to social media yet again, this time tweeting that it would run out of the sandwich by the end of the week. The restaurant chain had bought inventory that was supposed to last until the end of September, but ran out before August was even over.

That's the Fried Chicken Sandwich War for you.

Now, let's get to the really juicy part... the profits.

Here's How YOU Can Win the Fried Chicken Sandwich War

When a product craze is this big, there's money to be made. In this case, it's in Popeyes' parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE: QSR).

Restaurant Brands owns popular restaurant chains Tim Horton's and Burger King as well, and the stock is up 28.24% year to date. The parent company's earnings report for Q3 is due on Oct. 23, 2019, and Popeyes' chicken-sandwich-spurred sales jump can't help but bump up the numbers.

But a fad is called a fad for a reason - it doesn't tend to last. Before long, people will be into the next social media-driven food craze, and the ship of opportunity will have sailed on.

So, buying and holding QSR shares isn't your best bet here. The smart play is to use options to capitalize on a big, short-term profit opportunity.

When you have a short-term bullish outlook on a stock like Restaurant Brands, you can buy a call option.

Take Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD), for example. Gilead may be a biotechnology company, not a fast-food owner, but that's not important. My outlook on the stock back in June was similar to my outlook on QSR now: very, very profitable in the short term, uncertain in the long term.

On June 10, 2019, GILD was trading around $65.40. So, we bought a call option for $2, or $200 for control over 100 shares. On June 18, the stock had risen to trade at $67.65 - and our call option had risen to $4. So, we sold our GILD call for double what we bought it for, taking home a 100% gain in just eight days.

That, folks, is a surefire way to cash in on a trend that, let's face it, probably doesn't have much staying power. Trends and fads change; when the profits need to be big and fast, options are always, always, always the best course of action.

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About the Author

Tom Gentile, options trading specialist for Money Map Press, is widely known as America's No. 1 Pattern Trader thanks to his nearly 30 years of experience spotting lucrative patterns in options trading. Tom has taught over 300,000 traders his option trading secrets in a variety of settings, including seminars and workshops. He's also a bestselling author of eight books and training courses.

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