Wednesday, September 02, 2009

KFC Expands Value Menu

KFC has expanded their Value Menu. For the first time it will include some of their new Grilled Chicken.

The new Value Menu items fall into 3 value price categories, $1.99, $1.49, and 99¢.

The $1.99 items include:
  • Kentucky Grilled Value Box – choice of either a Kentucky Grilled drumstick or thigh with Potato Wedges
  • Snack Boxes:
    • Popcorn Chicken with Potato Wedges,
    • Three Hot Wings with Potato Wedges,
    • Snack Size Bowl, or
    • Honey BBQ Sandwich
For $1.49:
  • Little Bucket Parfait
  • Side Salad or KFC Toasted Wrap
And 5 items for 99¢
  • Mini Melt – pulled chicken doused in Honey BBQ Sauce and mixed with a 3-cheese blend, wrapped in a fresh tortilla and grill-pressed
  • Brownie Bites – 3 pack
  • KFC Snacker Sandwiches
  • Two Biscuits
  • Two Apple Turnovers


Thursday, August 06, 2009

KFC Mystery Meat Photos

An interesting photo has been added to our (Fast Food News') Flickr group, Frightening Fast Food.

According to Flickr member, jtolber, it is a photo of 'something' in a thigh piece he purchased at a KFC in Marshfield, Missouri...

KFC-Brains or a Worm in that Thigh Meat

jtolber writes:
"The store manager tried to tell me that it was nothing and was quick to grab it from my hands and throw it away. Offered me a free piece to replace it ... yeah, right ... last time I'll ever step foot in KFC ever again. Even tried to contact their corporate office to file a complaint and never get a response."
Frankly, I can look at it any longer to try and figure out what it might be because I'm starting to feel sick, but you go ahead and try. He has many more photos of whatever it is in his photo set on Flickr.

Any ideas?

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Where's the Beef? At KFC Apparently!

KFC is off to a bad start with their new Grilled Chicken.

Apparently they use BEEF products in the marinade for their grilled chicken.

Specifically, as stated on page 14 of KFC's ingredient statement [pdf]: "Chicken Marinated with...Beef Powder, Rendered Beef Fat."

El Pollo Loco is going all out to let everyone know about this. They've had an ongoing feud with KFC over whose grilled chicken is better... claiming, in fact, that KFC's grilled chicken isn't even really grilled.

Here's the commercial they've created and will be airing in California to let everyone know what's in KFC's grilled chicken marinade:

The LA Times has picked up the story and spoken with KFC for their reaction.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

El Pollo Loco Takes KFC to Task

While KFC is falling all over itself to try and save face after offering a coupon and then refusing to honor it (offering a rain check instead), El Pollo Loco is taking KFC to task and looking like a much more professional and on-the-ball organization than KFC.

First of all, El Pollo Loco noticed an interesting exclusion on the original KFC free grilled chicken meal coupon that stood out to me when I saw it, too. The coupon read, "Offer valid from 5/509 to 5/19/09, not valid on Mother's Day 5/10/09." (see the coupon here)Sure, KFC was hoping to not get swamped with free meal requests on one of their big days, Mother's Day. But, really, this was a missed opportunity for good will: A free meal for Mother! El Pollo Loco latched onto this error and ran with it in this video:

They also criticize KFC for copying their free grilled chicken promotion. But now that KFC has gone back on their free meal coupon offer, El Pollo Loco really has something to highlight, a huge failure on their competitors part. I'm sure we'll be seeing a new video from El Pollo Loco about this in mere hours.

But while we're talking about El Pollo Loco and KFC, here's another video highlighting their "Taste the Fire Challenge" taste test and some calls they allegedly received from KFC and YUM! Brands corporate offices:

A fast food chicken battle is clearly underway!

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KFC Revokes Coupons, Issues Rain Checks

KFC has officially canceled, voided and revoked the coupons they originally issued on their web site (and talked about on the Oprah show).

As we wrote about yesterday, some KFC fast food restaurants had been declining to redeem the free grilled chicken meal coupons promoted by Oprah on her show Tuesday.

They are now issuing 'rain checks' to those who jump through a few hoops.  If you downloaded the coupon, you can print it out and take it to your local KFC, they, in turn, will give you a form that you'll have to fill out and mail to KFC.  KFC says that they will then send you another coupon for a free grilled chicken meal (and a free Pepsi) that can be redeemed during certain dates listed on the coupon.

Their goal here, of course, is to try and spread out the dates during which people will be coming in to the restaurants for free meals.

I'm sorry, but a company as large as YUM! Brands (KFC's parent company) should be grown up enough to know what kinds of promotions their restaurants can handle and have the marketing smarts to be able to predict the kind of response they're going to get.

This is a shameful business failure on the part of KFC/YUM! Brands.

Oprah has changed the message on her KFC Coupon page to reflect the new 'rain check' policy.

Below is a video of KFC's President, Roger Eaton, apoligizing and explain the rain check system (the text of his statement is also below).  (By the way, what is an Australian South African doing running a company called Kentucky Fried Chicken!!  Listen to the video.)

Rain Check Policy from KFC
We are so sorry, but due to the overwhelming response to our FREE Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal coupon, we can no longer redeem the free coupon at this time. But we will honor our commitment to giving you a free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal. Please visit a participating KFC restaurant for a rain check form. Complete the form, attach your original coupon, and give it to the KFC restaurant manager or postmark per the form's instructions, by May 19, 2009, and we'll send you a rain check for your free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal at a later date, plus a free Pepsi with our compliments. Your participating KFC restaurant will provide you with the form you need. Please note that the redemption periods of the rain checks will vary. All other terms and conditions of the original free Kentucky Grilled Chicken coupon will apply. Thank you for your understanding,

Roger Eaton
KFC President


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Problems with KFC/Oprah Coupon

UPDATE: KFC has now officially decided to NOT redeem the coupons discussed below. They have issued a statement which I've written about and you can view:
KFC Revokes Coupons, Issues Rain Checks

After Oprah talked about KFC's new grilled chicken on her show on Tuesday (5/5/09), a coupon was made available online for printing.  The coupon (shown below) was for a "Free 2 pc Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal:  2 pcs grilled chicken (manager's choice), two individual sides and a biscuit."

The trouble is that some KFC fast food restaurants are reportedly refusing to accept the coupon.  The reports vary and we've linked to many of the stories and blog posts below.  Apparently some manager's have said the promotion is over for the day, created separate lines for those with coupons, claimed to have run out of menu items, and said that coupons with barcode numbers ending in "1234" are not valid (evidently ALL the coupon barcodes end in "1234"!!!).  Others have reported that they had no problem at all redeeming their coupon.

Here's what the coupon looks like:

Oprah now has this page on her site with information on who to call if your coupon is not accepted at KFC.

Her site states:  "All the PDF coupons downloaded from on the evening of May 5 have the same bar code" and instructs you to call 1-800-CALL-KFC if your coupon is not accepted and a "KFC Customer Service representative will assist you and also take the information about your experience and follow up with the restaurant."

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fast Food at Guantanamo Bay

From Wikipedia:
In 1986, Guantanamo became host to Cuba's first and only McDonald's restaurant, as well as a Subway. These fast food restaurants are on base, and not accessible to Cubans. It has been reported that prisoners cooperating with interrogations have been rewarded with Happy Meals from the McDonald's located on the mainside of the base.

In 2004, Guantanamo opened a combined KFC & A&W restaurants at the bowling alley and a Pizza Hut Express at the Windjammer Restaurant. There is also a Taco Bell, and an ice cream shop that sells Starbucks coffee. All the restaurants on the installation are franchises owned and operated by the Department of the Navy. All proceeds from these restaurants are used to support morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) activities for service personnel and their families.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

KFC Secret Recipe Publicity Stunt

KFC is making a big deal about moving Col. Sander's original, hand-written, top-secret "Original Recipe" to a new, more secure location. Clearly a way to get their name (their new name, KFC, not the original name, Kentucky Fried Chicken, since their afraid of the word 'fried' now) into the news cycle this week.

And I'm buying into it by writing about it!

KFC recently applied the recipe to their new chicken strips, so I'm sure that's what the publicity is for.

The recipe is being moved for the first time in 68 years.

The recipe and vials containing the herbs and spices used in the recipe will be locked in a briefcase that is handcuffed to a security expert who will board an armored car that will have a police escort to the new location.

Supposedly, only two company executives at any time have access to the recipe. The company doesn't release their name or title, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.
more here.

Update: It's pretty silly, but we'll tell you about it anyway. As part of this publicity, KFC now has a website where you can store your secrets. Yup, that's all it does. You type something in and it disappears. Whew!

UPDATE #2: The stunt is complete, the move as been made. You can watch the official AP news coverage of the event here. Better than the real news I guess, banks failing, prices rising, Obama v. McCain, Biden v. Palin, oh yeah, and a couple wars!

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Monday, September 08, 2008

"KFC" Opens in Kabul, Afghanistan

There are now 2 "KFC" restaurants in Kabul, Afghanistan.  But in this case, KFC doesn't stand for Kentucky Fried Chicken, it stands for Kabul Fried Chicken.

Instead of being a licensed franchisee for Yum! Brands (like KFC restaurants elsewhere throughout the world), this one is owned by an Afghan who has returned to his war-ravaged homeland from the US to bring some American style fast food to his countrymen.

K(abul)FC owner Mirwais Abdurrahimzai offers 11 different pizzas, 16 kinds of pizza, burgers and, of course, fried chicken. It even looks a lot like a traditional KFC.

More from the VOA:


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yum!'s From Hunger to Hope

Yum! Brands has teamed up with the Friends of the World Food Program for World Hunger Relief Week.

Called "World Hunger Relief Week," the program supports the United Nations World Food Programme, the frontline agency in the fight against global hunger. During October 14-20, 35,000 company and franchised restaurants located in 112 countries will be participating in some way, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food.

The campaign, which will run from October 14th through October 20th, will increase awareness about hunger, engage volunteers, and raise critically needed funds to help WFP serve the world's areas of greatest need.

"This unprecedented and innovative campaign brings together the public and private sector to address one of the most pressing issues of our time: the world's hunger crisis," said Friends of WFP President and CEO Karen Sendelback. "Hunger is a global concern and an issue that faces each of us no matter where we live and work. Through World Hunger Relief Week, we can all make a difference to stop world hunger."
There's more information and you can donate at the "From Hunger to Hope" web site that Yum! Brands has set up.

Sure, Yum! is using a global tragedy to promote their fast food chains, but it is an important concern that needs awareness.

UPDATE: KFC announced one way their participating today:
The KFC "Honks for Hunger Relief" Tour begins on the East Coast on Oct. 11. The KFC Colonel will be driving cross-country to raise money for World Hunger Relief Week.

Each time the Colonel encounters a motorist who signals support for hunger relief with a honk of the horn, he will add a buck to the KFC bucket. Every honk means another dollar donated by KFC. The Colonel hopes to raise tens of thousands of dollars during his road trip.

Also, the From Hunger to Hope blog pointed out in comments to this blog entry that "we're not trying to promote our food in any way with this effort." I'm glad Yum! is doing something to promote awareness about hunger, but I still fail to see how The Colonel driving cross country with signs and a car plastered with KFC logos isn't promoting their food, too.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

KFC's American Idol stunt

It was only a couple months ago that KFC pulled a publicity stunt by announcing they had asked the Pope to bless their new fish sandwich.

Now they're trying to create buzz again by offering American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar a free lifetime supply of (pretty disgusting) KFC Famous Bowls if he dons a bowl hairdo.

KFC President Gregg Dedrick wrote to Sanjaya: “If you don a bowl hairdo during one of your next nationally televised performances, KFC will grant you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls. We’re sure America will be as ‘bowled-over’ by your take on this classic look as they are by our KFC Famous Bowls.”

Good grief!

from TV Envy

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Rats invade NYC KFC/Taco Bell

Rats have invaded a KFC/Taco Bell combo restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York City and it's the talk of the town. Local news stations have shot video of a virtual horde of rats running around the restaurant.

The restaurant has been cited in the past for rodent problems.

I can't really do the video justice with a description, so, if you've got a strong stomach, watch the video.

UPDATE: The restaurant has been closed until the rat problem, and any other health code violations, are solved (see 2nd video below).

Watch the rats (Fox 5 New York):

Watch Yum! Brands' response (parent company of Taco Bell & KFC):

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

KFC asks Pope to bless their fish

For the first time KFC is going to serve fish. The KFC Fish Snacker is "An Alaskan Pollock fish filet breaded and fried to golden perfection, then topped with tangy tartar sauce and served on a warm sesame seed bun.

Just in time for Lent, KFC says the new sandwich "is ideal for American Catholics who want to observe Lenten season traditions while still leading their busy, modern lifestyles."

"People can enjoy the flavor of the new Fish Snacker any day of the week, but we believe it will be especially popular on Fridays," said James O'Reilly, Chief Marketing Officer for KFC.

In a PR move to promote the new fish sandwich, KFC has concocted a publicity stunt that at least borders on sacrilegious: they've officially asked the Pope (yes, the one in Rome with the big hat) to bless their new sandwich.

According to KFC's press release: "The company has asked the Pope himself for his blessing, with KFC President Gregg Dedrick sending a personal letter to the Vatican... The company has turned to Pope Benedict XVI, beseeching him to bestow his Papal blessing for this innovative new menu item."

It is unlikely they will hear back from Pope Benedict unless the Catholic Church somehow doesn't realize when they're being used for cheap publicity.

The KFC Fish Snacker has 280 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 42 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams sugars, and 13 grams of protein.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

KFC wants the Colonel on a stamp

KFC has asked the US Postal Service to put their founder, Colonel Sanders, on a postage stamp and they want you to sign their petition.

"The Colonel's entrepreneurial spirit and hospitable nature made him an American legend," said James O'Reilly, interim Chief Marketing Officer for KFC. "We believe that a postage stamp in his honor would be a fitting tribute to his memory."

It would also be a marketing coup! Putting the face of the man whose likeness serves as the KFC logo would have a priceless advertising value. It's not the same as putting Ray Kroc on a stamp (not that I think that is a good idea either) because although Kroc founded McDonald's his face wasn't used as their logo. Putting the Colonel on a stamp would be more like putting Ronald McDonald on a stamp.

It is also rather ironic that KFC now wants Sanders on a stamp since in 1975 they sued him for libel for calling KFC's gravy "sludge" and their mashed potatoes "wallpaper paste." (Sanders had sold Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1964.) The lawsuit was unsuccessful and now, 30 years later, they want to honor him with a stamp instead! Glad they could forgive and forget for the greater (advertising and marketing) good.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another fun fast food t-shirt

Another fun fast food t-shirt from my favorite t-shirt shop, Threadlesss. Fast Supper was the last one.

This one is called Dad? and pokes a little fun at the Colonel and KFC.

Big and little chicken in front of KFC's Colonel Sander's logo with the eye's blocked out (like in a TV interview with a suspect) and the big chicken says to the little chicken: "So he killed your dad?"

I just think it's kinda funny, but the freaks in the PETA cult... they'll LOVE it!!

You can see (and buy) the t-shirt here.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

New KFC Snacker and promo

KFC introduced a new 'Snacker' sandwich this month along with another 'hidden message' TV ad.

The new sandwich is the KFC Ultimate Cheese Snacker. It "features KFC's signature, 100 percent chicken breast strip, covered in a blend of cheddar and Swiss cheeses, topped with crisp lettuce and served on a warm sesame seed bun."

The Cheese Snacker has 280 calories, 11 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugars, and 15 g protein. There's that trans fat again. Get with the program KFC and eliminate that trans fat (like Wendy's did).

If you don't feel like taping TV ads just so you can watch them in slow-motion frame by frame to find a hidden message, I'll just tell you what it is: "traffic jam". That's what you'll need to enter on KFC's Cheese Snacker page before October 7 in order to enter the sweepstakes and possibly get a coupon in the mail.

There's no guarantee you'll get a coupon. Here's the message you get after you enter your name, mailing address, e-mail address and date of birth: "If you are among the 1,000 eligible participants a day, you will receive a $1 gift check (via US Mail) worth $1.00 redeemable toward the purchase of products at participating KFC restaurants"

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

KFC's Moms Matter! PR move

KFC has formed an 'advisory board' called "Moms Matter!" to help promote a family friendly image for KFC.

The Advisory Board will meet in person bi-annually, hold quarterly conference calls and host monthly dinner meetings in their hometowns to "gain information and advise KFC on everything from trends that affect families to new product ideas."

"Moms have relied on our popular, meal-building menu items for years and now we're turning to them for ideas on how KFC can be even more helpful with managing their busy lifestyles," says Scott Bergren, executive vice president of marketing for KFC.

You would suspect that the first suggestion any mom that cares about her family would make is that KFC reduce or eliminate the high levels of trans fats in their menu items. But even if they do, I doubt it will be mentioned in the meetings' public reports!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"The Fast Supper" t-shirt for fast foodies

Threadless, an online t-shirt shop, has reissued a great t-shirt from their collection called "The Fast Supper." It depicts 6 characters from the world of fast food advertising sitting at a table in a setting reminiscent of da Vinci's The Last Supper.

The fast food apostles as they appear on the shirt are (from left to right): Arby's, Little Caesar's Pizza, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC and McDonald's.

Of course I bought one of these! I also liked and bought a t-shirt entitled Fossil Fuels.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alderman calls out CEOs over trans fat

The Chicago alderman, Edward Burke, who has called for a city-wide ban on trans fat, has now called for the CEOs of the major fast food chains to appear before the City Council and answer for their use of trans fat.

He specifically ask for Jim Skinner of McDonald's, John W. Chidsey of Burger King Corp. and David C. Novak of Yum Brands Inc., the parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken to come and explain "why they continue to use an unhealthy process when they know full well that they're putting their customers at risk."

Burke was particularly critical of McDonald's for promising to eliminate trans fat over 4 years ago and still having made little progress to date.

He praised Wendy's, though, for doing just that and invited Wendy's interim CEO, Kerrii Anderson, to address the council on just "how easy it was to make the change." [via]

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Monday, July 24, 2006

KFC under fire from Taoists

KFC is underfire for a TV ad depicting an old Taoist surrounded by his apprentices excitedly holding a chicken burger and claiming it as a masterpiece.

The ad mimics a scene from The Seven Swords, a film that depicts historical events and is highly regarded among the Chinese community.

Asia News reports: "Yin Cheng'an, a leading Taoist in the Beijing Baiyun Taoist Temple, said that the old Taoist Fu Qingzhu in the fiction Seven Swords is a real historical figure, and that it is ridiculous to have Fu recommend chicken burgers because he and most Taoists are vegetarian and the faith dictates killing animals is wrong." [via Slashfood]


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

KFC testing new Colonel

Louisville's Courier-Journal reports that KFC has trademarked and is experimenting with a new image of the Colonel, one of the most recognized logos in the world.

The trademark application describes the new representation of Colonel Harland Sanders as "a man with a black bowtie and red apron in front of a red background."

KFC is testing the new look in several restaurants. "It's still to be determined all the exact uses for it," said KFC spokeswoman Laurie Schalow.

See 4 versions of the Colonel in a poll by the Courier-Journal. At the time of this entry, people seem to prefer the 'traditional' look for the Colonel.


Friday, June 30, 2006

Chicago alderman seeks to ban trans fat

A Chicago alderman, Edward Burke, has proposed a new city ordinance that would ban the use of trans fat in all restaurants. If this rule were enacted it would mean the end of McDonald's french fries, and scores of other fast food made with trans fat, in the city of Chicago.

"Chicago has the opportunity to take a bold step and protect its citizens from the ravages of unhealthy trans fats by banning their use in restaurants," said Burke.

Colleen McShane, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, said some of the city's mom-and-pop restaurants could have difficulty complying with an ordinance requiring they use more expensive oil.

"I don't think the government needs to come in and regulate this," she said. "When the consumer is educated, the consumer will demand it, and the restaurants will respond."

Public outcry over trans fat has reached a fever pitch since special-interest-activist-lawyer-group CSPI decided to sue KFC over its use of trans fat.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

McDonald's bid to catch KFC in China

McDonald's has partnered with China oil giant Sinopec to develop drive-thru restaurants in China and catch up with KFC's explosive growth there.

"McDonald's is aiming for 10 percent annual sales growth in China over the next five years amid stiff competition from Yum Brands Inc.'s KFC, aiming to add about 100 restaurants a year to its current stable of about 750 stores." [CNN]

UPDATE: There was a good editorial in the South China Post regarding things that should be kept in mind as the fast food industry expands in China:
"The mainland would be sensible to take note, given the popularity of fast food there. It can ill afford an explosion in modern western diseases among a huge population with problematic access to affordable health care. And studies have found that Asian immigrants to the United States are more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, in that they develop it at lower weights than people of other races.

There is a good case for the mainland to start a revolution in healthy fast food - drive thru, cycle-thru or walk-thru."


Monday, June 19, 2006

Fast food not ready for self-serv after all

Apparently I was wrong. Back in March I wrote about the growing self service trend in the QSR (fast food) industry, but according to an article in the Chicago Tribune the trend has withered on the vine.

Despite self-serv taking off elsewhere (the gas pump, airline check-in, even at the Post Office) and being tested by YUM! at KFC/Taco Bell and some McDonald's in Denver, it just doesn't seem to do the trick when it comes to food service. Apparently people associate dining, even in a fast food restaurant, with personal service.

McDonald's has stopped testing the concept and a spokesman for Boink Systems, which tested its machines with Taco Bell, said the largest opportunity they are seeing now for the machines are with jails and prisons!

There are still some that insist self service fast food is the future: the companies that make the self-service kiosks. They say (and I agreed), that many customers prefer to take direct control of their order.

Previous entries about fast food service technology here were about self-serv kiosk availability (Nov. 05), kiosk implementation at Taco Bell/KFC (Feb. 06), and the self service trend in the QSR industry (Mar. 06).

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another obesity lawsuit. Target: KFC

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, a 'watchdog group' also called America's "food police," but really just a group lawyers) filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try to stop KFC from using partially hydrogenated oil in fried chicken and other dishes. Partially hydrogenated oil is the main contributor of trans fat in fried foods.

KFC, a subsidiary Yum Brands Inc., called the lawsuit "frivolous."

The back-up objective of the suit (if they fail to force KFC to stop using the oil) is to require KFC to post signs notifying customers that their food is high in trans fat.

These lawyers have no faith in Americans' ability to make decisions for themselves. I don't think KFC should be able to hide the fact that they use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or that some of their food is high in trans fat, but they don't hide it: it's all available to the public on KFC's website and in their restaurants (and also, on my website and in my book.)

Besides telling the restaurant what to do, the lawsuit seeks attorney's fees. CSPI is listed as one of the attorneys so that's how they get paid.

But be not mislead! Many of KFC's menu items ARE high in trans fat and most everyone agrees that too much trans fat will clog your arteries and kill you. Per KFC's own nutrition calculator: one Extra Crispy breast has 4.5 grams of trans fat and their Pot Pie contains 14 grams of trans fat. The suggested limit for trans fat is 2 grams per day.

Update: ABC News has published an interesting article on this issue with the results of their poll which indicates "most Americans have a free-will mind-set. Asked if KFC should offer more healthy options by changing its menu items, 2,652 readers voted that KFC should be left alone while 951 voted that the menu needs to be changed."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

KFC's 'Famous Bowls'

If you haven't seen the TV ads yet, let me introduce you to KFC's new Famous Bowls... a fast food idea that's long overdue: take the customer's 'favorite' items from your fast food menu board and mix them together in a bowl so they can be eaten with a spoon (or a shovel)!

Here's KFC description: "Freshly prepared with layers of your KFC favorites - a generous serving of our creamy mashed potatoes, sweet kernel corn, bite size pieces of all-white meat crispy chicken, topped with our homestyle gravy and 3-cheese blend."

The 'Mashed Potato with Gravy Famous Bowl' has 690 calories (60 of those from fat)(corrected: 270 of those from fat), 31 grams of fat, 55mgs of cholesterol, 26 grams of carbohydrates, and 27 grams of protein. The 'Rice with Gravy' version has 770 calories (230 from fat), 25 grams of fat, 55mgs of cholesterol, 107 grams of carbs, 30 grams of protein.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Self-serve the new quick-serve?

Industry trends towards self-service at fast food restaurants may soon force the industry to reconsider the moniker 'quick-service restaurant' and replace it with 'self-service restaurant.' More and more plans are becoming apparent within the industry that seem to indicate this transition. We reported here on the self-service kiosk at a KFC/Taco Bell in North Carolina last month and on the introduction of the self-serv kiosks in November. Subway and Arby's have also experimented with self-service.

A National Restaurant Association representative said self-service "will lets consumers feel more in control because they're getting exactly what they ordered. Businesses can deploy the staff elsewhere and refocus on speeding up order delivery." But we're not really expected to believe that this trend won't cut into employment rolls are we? As for the consumer, I can see where it would be an improvement with regard to the reliability factor.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

KFC's 'secret code' TV ad

KFC has been promoting a new TV ad that aired for the first time last night and will run through March 3 during prime time. They want you to watch to ad in order to see the 'secret code' embedded in the ad and get a coupon for a free Buffalo Snacker sandwich. They even encourage you to record the ad so you can play it back.

Relax. Here's the secret code: "Buffalo" Just go to the KFC site and enter it at the bottom of the page. Be warned though, there is no guarantee you'll get the coupon: the website has been really busy and has not even let me register. (And there are only 75,000 coupons available, so it's first come, first served.)

By the way, I agree with Adrants, the TV ad is really bad!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Automated ordering at Taco Bell/KFC

The appearance of self-serve kiosks and elimination of more low-wage jobs has begun. This photo was taken at a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in Morrisville, NC.

The self-serve kiosk with an LCD touch-screen is not a supplementary way to order when lines are long at lunchtime, it is the ONLY way to order.

I'm telling you now, it won't be long before we don't interact with a human at all when we buy fast food; in the restaurant or in the drive-thru. What will future generations of kids' first McJob be? Blogging?
[via realtechnews; photo via flickr]

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Fast food's 'holiday' references

The controversy over "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" seems to have really heated up this year. I actually got invited to a "I'll call it a Christmas Party if I Want To" party! thrown by someone who said they're sick of all the "religious correctness." Many people are being careful not to offend; many of the 'Christmas' cards I got this year did not mention Christmas at all. And of course there's been boycotts against many retailers who've been accused by Christian groups of not including specific Christmas references in their stores, websites, and holiday marketing.

With this in mind, I decided to take a look at some fast food restaurants' web sites today, with Christmas only a day and a half away, and see what sort of 'holiday' references I might find.

The following sites had no mention of the holiday season whatsoever: Burger King, Carls Jr., Chick-fil-a, Church's Chicken, Del Taco, In-N-Out, KFC, Long John Silver's, McDonald's, Panera, and Taco Bell.

One thing about that list really surprised me. I was surprised that Chick-fil-a didn't have a "Merry Christmas" on their site, since they promote themselves as a Christian company every week by keeping their restaurants closed on Sunday.

I didn't see Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza mentioned specifically anywhere, but here are some holiday references I did find:

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

KFC-China bigger than McDonald's-US?

Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell, told Wall Street analysts today that KFC is growing so fast in China that it is positioned to be “as big as McDonald’s [in the US] some day."

This is assuming, of course, that there continues to be avian-flu-free chickens in China!


Monday, November 14, 2005

KFC back to Kentucky Fried Chicken?

As the trend toward healthier eating approached full-swing some years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name so it could hide that dirty word: Fried. But now, according to a recent article, as people "eating hamburgers, doughnuts, French fries, and fried chicken like never before...KFC is considering bringing back the name Kentucky Fried Chicken in its full form."


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Avian flu effect on KFC sales

from NRN:

KFC faces a potential 10-percent to 20-percent decline in U.S. and European sales because of customers’ avian-flu concerns, senior executives told analysts in an Oct. 25 meeting at which plans for airing reassuring TV ads were disclosed.

KFC faces potential disruptions in customer traffic and chicken supplies to its 1,500 outlets in China because of avian flu outbreaks in four provinces there and the Chinese government’s Nov. 1 ban on poultry imports from eight neighboring countries.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Burger Bill passes House

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at making it harder for people to sue the food industry for causing obesity. Lawmakers voted 306-120 in favour of the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act - or the "cheeseburger bill", as it has been nicknamed. The bill, which has still to go before the Senate, follows a series of legal actions against fast-food companies. A spokesman for the firms welcomed the move to outlaw such cases. Scott Vinson of the National Council of Chain Restaurants praised the House for "denouncing frivolous obesity lawsuits brought by plaintiffs seeking to blame restaurants for making them overweight". The council represents brands including McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fast-food chains try going small

Two of the biggest burger chains -- Wendy's and Burger King -- are developing restaurants with smaller kitchens and seating areas that operate profitably in small towns, cost less to build and fit into cheaper parcels of land. Popeye's is looking to follow suit, and even Applebee's, a sit-down restaurant, is looking to reduce square footage in rural area restaurants. YUM! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silver's) hasn't started downsizing there restaurants per-se, but they're accomplishing the same thing by putting mulitple restaurants in one location. [AP]

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Hundreds Of Fast-Food Restaurants Closed by Hurricane Katrina

DES MOINES, Iowa (Dow Jones)--Hurricane Katrina left hundreds of fast-food restaurants closed or damaged in its devastation.

More than 200 McDonald's Corp. (MCD) restaurants remained dark in the storm's path as of midday Wednesday. Burger King Corp. said about 120 of the 180 restaurants initially hit were still closed.

"We're assessing damage to our restaurants, but transportation, power and the lack of communication make it difficult," said McDonald's pokesman Bill Whitman.

McDonald's has dispatched an assessment team to the Gulf Coast to "get a firsthand account of what we need to do to help our people as well as others in the disaster area," he said. The company also has contacted the American Red Cross, although Whitman indicated that McDonald's hadn't determined what assistance it might render.

"Our first priority is to locate all of our employees and insure their safety," he said.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York City, the chain trucked in food and water to the Ground Zero area, for residents as well as those involved in rescue and recovery.

Burger King has marshaled a half dozen semitrailer trucks loaded with everything from canned goods and water to bug spray and diapers to assist those in what a spokeswoman called "the Burger King family." That would include franchisees - most of the restaurants along the Gulf Coast are franchised – and their employees.

Those trucks are "staged" and waiting for word that it is safe to enter the storm's zone.
"We also will provide cash assistance" for emergency housing and similar basic needs, said Edna Johnson, a senior vice president at the Miami-based hamburger chain.

More than 4,000 restaurant workers have been affected by the storm, she said, adding that "we're still trying to account for all" of them.

Because of operating difficulties and disrupted supply lines, many of the Burger Kings operating in the ravaged areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida were serving a limited menu.

Johnson said at last count 57 Burger Kings were closed in Louisiana, 52 in Mississippi, 15 in Alabama and six in the Miami area.

Among restaurants hardest-hit in and around swamped New Orleans was AFC Enterprises Inc.'s (AFCE) Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits chain, which has 43 stores in that market, according to the company's Web site. It also has eight restaurants in and around Biloxi, Miss. All told, Popeyes operates at 153 locations in Louisiana and 56 in Mississippi.

Popeyes spokeswoman Alicia Thompson said the Atlanta company was pulling together information on the situation and couldn't elaborate.

"With so many employees in the New Orleans market we've been making sure they're OK," she said. "Now we're starting to assess, as much as we can, where we are."

Other chains hit by Katrina's fury include Sonic Corp. (SONC), which said it has about 60 drive-ins affected in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A spokeswoman said the Oklahoma City company was seeking to determine the extent of damage and wasn't prepared to comment further. Sonic has about 3,000 stores nationwide.

There was no immediate word on storm damage to restaurants in the Yum Brands Inc. (YUM) portfolio, which include KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silver's.

Unlike some other retailers that may be able to eventually capture sales postponed because of the storm, restaurants have no such opportunity. Once a meal period is passed, revenue is lost, and so an economic impact is inevitable for franchisers and their franchisees, who pay a percentage of every sales dollar rung up.

from Cattle Network News.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Colonel's recipe still a secret

The handwritten recipe that launched a fast-food dynasty and made Col. Harland Sanders world famous is locked away at KFC headquarters — its contents so concealed that not even the chain's top executive knows the ingredients. It was 65 years ago this month, at his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Ky., that Sanders perfected the blend of 11 herbs and spices for his "finger lickin' good" chicken. [more: USA Today]


Friday, July 01, 2005

KFC’s Original Recipe celebrates 65 years

Before the world ever heard of "Watergate" or "Deep Throat," Colonel Harland Sanders perfected one of the best kept secrets of all time: KFC Original Recipe. Sixty-five years ago this July, Colonel Sanders developed the Original Recipe formula when he operated a roadside restaurant and motel in Corbin, Kentucky.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Australia's fast food growth

According to a BIS Schrapnel report, the number of fast food restaurants in Australia has grown by 25% in the last 4 years. The 123.2 per cent growth in new Subway outlets compared with 2.1 per cent growth for McDonald's showed consumers were voting with their waistlines, the report's co-author Jan Roach said. But in terms of sales turnover, McDonald's still leads the way, followed by KFC. [Herald Sun | The Age]

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Fast food openings in China, Iraq and India

Burger King will be opening its first store in China later this month in Shanghai [Shanghai Daily]. Earlier this month, Popeyes Chicken opened their first store in Iraq []. Eastern India’s maiden KFC outlet was unveiled in Calcutta. [Calcutta Telegraph]

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Fast food poll: Wendy's is most popular

According to a new poll by Zogby International, "nearly one-in-four (23%) American adults call fast food chain Wendy’s their favorite, with half as many preferring runners-up Taco Bell and McDonald’s (12% apiece). Burger King trailed McDonald’s and Taco Bell at 11%. Rounding out the field were KFC at 8%, and Jack in the Box and Long John Silver’s, at 3% each. Three-in-ten (29%) respondents say they either prefer no fast food restaurant or a chain not offered on the list."

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

KFC takeover of Russian chicken

Rostik'sYum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, is considering a 45% stake in Russia's fried chicken restaurant chain Rostik's. Rostik's is the second most popular fast food chain in Russia after McDonald's. [Moscow Times]


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Customer satisfaction ratings

This year's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ratings are out. Papa Johns came out on top, McDonald's at the bottom. Here they are with their scores and the number of points they've gone up or down since the last survey.
  1. Papa John's - 78 up 2
  2. Wendy's - 75 up 1
  3. Little Caesar - 74 up 1
  4. Taco Bell - 72 up 4
  5. Burger King - 71 up 3
  6. Domino's - 71 down 4
  7. Pizza Hut - 71 down 4
  8. KFC - 69 down 2
  9. McDonald's - 62 down 2
The ACSI "is a uniform and independent measure of household consumption experience. A powerful economic indicator, the ACSI tracks trends in customer satisfaction and provides valuable benchmarking insights of the consumer economy." It is produced at the University of Michigan.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

KFC animal welfare experts quit

NRN is reporting that "two animal-science experts, who have urged KFC Corp. to do more to ensure that its chickens are slaughtered humanely, resigned from the chain's animal welfare advisory council after being asked by the company to sign a confidentiality agreement."
related: KFC operator roasts Pamela Anderson 'inaccuracies'


Monday, May 02, 2005

KFC operator roasts Pamela Anderson 'inaccuracies'

A Canadian KFC operator has responded to the recent accusations of Pamela Anderson, a Canadian, in a PETA video regarding apparent mistreatment of chickens at KFC suppliers.
Bitove said KFC buys its chickens from the same places that sell to grocery stores and to other restaurants in Canada, and company officials "regularly and randomly audit our suppliers to augment government oversight and better ensure that chickens are treated ethically." -CJAD 800 Radio


Friday, April 22, 2005

'Kentucky Fried Chicken' moniker returning?

KFC is putting the "fried" back in Kentucky Fried Chicken. After 14 years of trying to downplay the image of its food as greasy and unhealthy by calling itself simply KFC, the chain opened a new restaurant in its hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday under its former name and plans 50 more this year.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Yum Earnings Up

KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc. (YUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday posted higher quarterly earnings and backed its outlook for the year despite a supply-chain issue in China that is hurting profits in that market.

Net income for the first quarter rose to $161 million, or 53 cents per share, from $142 million, or 47 cents per share, a year ago.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

KFC's new image

KFC plans to become something that might seem contrary to its Kentucky-fried DNA: hip.

(KFC President Gregg Dedrick at a revamped store in Louisville.)

Make that hip with a decidedly Southern accent. Or, in the words of Gregg Dedrick, KFC's relatively new president who is eager to fix the feathers on his much-maligned bird: "old-school cool."