Meat + Poultry - July 2010 - 66

QSR FOCUS
In 2007, KFC reverted to using its full
name, Kentucky Fried Chicken, as part
of a new corporate re-branding program.
(Photo courtesy of KFC)

A major shift
for the Colonel
Menu changes keep KFC
moving ahead
BY BERNARD SHIRE
meatpoultry@sosland.com

hen KFC launched its Kentucky Grilled Chicken, the
introduction was one of a number of
major changes and shakeups to the
fast-food restaurant chain's menu. The
addition of grilled chicken proved to
be a significant addition to its menu,
and a marketing opportunity to ap-

W

"The launch of Kentucky
Grilled Chicken was
the biggest newproduct introduction
in the brand's history"
peal to customers accustomed to the
Colonel's battered and fried menu
offerings.
Not only was the restaurant's Kentucky Grilled Chicken a major addition to its traditional Kentucky Fried
Chicken selections, but it turned out

to be a giant step forward in customer
appeal throughout the chain.
In order to create its new "non-fried
chicken" product, the restaurant chain
trotted out brand new and different
cooking equipment to accommodate
the addition of "grilled" to "fried" in
its thousands of franchised restaurants.
"The launch of Kentucky Grilled
Chicken was the biggest new-product introduction in the brand's history," says Rick Maynard, spokesman for KFC.
"That product was introduced because our customers told us they
love our food, but they wanted a lower-calorie option," Maynard says.
"Nutrition is becoming increasingly
important to consumers and to our
customers, so KFC is pleased to have
an option such as Kentucky Grilled
Chicken available for them." Maynard

66 * Meat&Poultry * July 2010 * www.MeatPoultry.com

says the product provides a great option for people counting calories. A
two-piece Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal (drumstick and thigh) with
mashed potatoes and green beans
packs less than 400 calories, he says.
This wasn't KFC's first attempt at
changing up its offerings as product
developers had dabbled in adding a
non-fried chicken option before. For
more than 10 years, KFC test-marketed in chicken that wasn't fried, without success. This came as a surprise to
many because most consumers correlate chicken with healthful eating. Perhaps the earlier failure was related to
equipment problems and long cooking
times. But this time, Kentucky Fried
Chicken equipped its domestic restaurants with high-volume cooking equipment to do the grilling. While KFC
markets the chicken as "grilled," the
product is actually slow roasted in an
automatic, high-temperature convection oven. The roasting equipment deploys a non-stick patented "grill plate"
to create grill markings on the surface
of the chicken. This cooking process
results in juicier and tastier chicken,
according to the company.
Kentucky Fried Chicken says its
grilled chicken is made from the same
marinated, bone-in chicken as the
restaurant's Extra Crispy and Original Recipe products, but six herbs
and spices are added to the chicken
before it is cooked in the convection
oven, as compared to the signature 11
herbs and spices in the Original Recipe product. The ovens used are about
twice as big as an institutional microwave oven, and can cook up to 80
pieces of chicken in about 22 minutes.
Because there is no breading used,
the cooking is less cumbersome and
the ovens in the restaurants clean
themselves. KFC officials don't reveal
costs for the cooking equipment at its
eateries. Company officials have said
the grilled chicken makes the brand
more contemporary, and shifts the


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Contents
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Meat + Poultry - July 2010 - Contents
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