Foodservice Equipment Reports

KFC Enters The Fast Casual Market With “Eleven” Store

KFC is putting its 11 herbs and spices in the forefront—and in its name—at a prototype fast-casual store opening August 5. The white-bearded, bespectacled image of chain founder Colonel Harland Sanders has no presence in the concept.

The chain will open a “KFC eleven” store near its headquarters in Louisville, Ky., which will serve flatbread sandwiches, rice bowls, salads, smoothies, and only boneless pieces of its Original Recipe chicken.

The design is more contemporary inside and out, with more wood and brick. The familiar red-and-white color scheme is supplanted by softer earth tones. While the restaurant’s exterior doesn’t feature Sanders, the name of the test restaurant is a reference to the 11 herbs and spices he used in the Original Recipe.

John Cywinski, president of KFC, told the Associated Press that the company hoped to use the new test location to learn how it can update its offerings and draw in a broader customer base, particularly women. In addition, the chain is targeting customers in their 20s and 30s who grew up on chicken nuggets and tenders, and generally tend to prefer chicken without bones, even as adults.

While that trend was the primary driver behind the decision to serve only boneless chicken at KFC eleven, Cywinski said logistics was another factor: cooking boneless and on-the-bone chicken in the new space would be too complicated, given all the other menu items.

As KFC continues testing the restaurant format with additional locations and redesigns, Cywinski said it will likely try offering chicken with bones as well at some point.

The debut stand-alone KFC eleven will be joined in a few months by a second location in a Louisville strip mall this fall; additional locations may open in other markets within the next year.

KFC, owned by Yum! Brands, saw a 3% rise in same-store sales in its 4,400 locations in United States in the just-ended second quarter.

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