Kentucky Grilled Chicken?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th December 2008

KFC, one of the world’s largest fast food franchises, has indicated they will branch out to grilled chicken as they seek to attract health driven consumers.

Renowned for their fried chicken, the company’s brand owner has announced grilled chicken will be put on the menu next year.

Chairman and CEO of the owner of the KFC brand – Yum Brands – David Novak, revealed plans last week for a second-quarter rollout of the grilled chicken product during an investor conference held in New York, while indicating that the company – which also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – believed growth was possible despite economic headwinds.

Mr Novak noted that fast food is quite resilient to a downturn in consumer spending, but being prepared to stand idle will create problems for fast food franchises. “Our industry is better-positioned in times like this,” he suggested. ” (But) in times like this, you’ve got to be good. You’ve got to be on your game.”

KFC had not been quite on their game, however, with Mr Novak admitting that their lack of innovation had weighed them down recently. “We haven’t created enough value, we haven’t created enough product news,” he said.

“This product will be a major transformational product for us, that it’s not the same KFC,” Mr Novak added.

The launch of grilled chicken will initially only be in the United States, and the commitment has been made after the longest market test of a product in the company’s history. The testing began in March, with the new products warmly received by consumers.

Mr Novak advised that previous grilled chicken attempts had failed for KFC because of operational or marketing factors but believes the new plan is “a winning concept” that will prove successful long-term.