It was only a matter of time until fast food chains started offering healthy options. The general public needed to be able to have a choice about whether they wanted to eat fried, high calorie meals or slightly healthier choices. Obesity is a major problem in the United States and as American fast food restaurants continue to spread all over the world, a growing problem in other countries. Kentucky Fried Chicken, rebranded as simply KFC, is waffling back and forth about moving away from its fried roots to offer healthier options in its restaurants.
Over the past five years, KFC has struggled to successful identify a stable, dominant advertising strategy to guide its menu and other business decisions. The company has specifically changed its mind about whether or not to offer grilled chicken and whether or not to make its advertising efforts promote this new product exclusively. KFC is a brand that has been built on a simple recipe of frying chicken in oil in a traditional southern custom. Therefore, promoting grilled chicken goes against everything their primary consumer base expects.
In 2011, their newly appointed “Chief Chicken Officer” Aaron Person decided that this change was inevitable and that KFC would still offer and promote its grilled chicken menu items. If KFC or Person did not think this was a good idea, KFC could have been left behind in the fast food industry. Grilled chicken, healthy wraps and salads can be found at virtually every fast food restaurant nowadays; from McDonalds to Wendy’s these items are commonplace. Many consumers are consciously making more careful health decisions, including what they eat. Consequently, Person thought that KFC did not have a choice in this case.
KFC is the number one chicken restaurant in the United States. This decision to offer more grilled items may have also been influenced by the moves of its key competitors. Both Chick-Fil-A and Popeye ‘s offer healthier meal options, especially for children. This is important because kid’s eating habits for the rest of their lives are usually formed during their early years. Since there has been this increased emphasis on eating healthy while still eating at “on the run” restaurants, parents are most likely to choose places that offer grilled and other meals that are good for one’s health.
The switch to adding more grilled items to KFC’s menu items was controversial. However, in the long run, KFC customers support the decision and KFC will acknowledge that they made the right decision for the future of the company and its patrons.
John Phillips is a student at Virginia Tech who loves KFC! Thanks to a high metabolism (good genetics never hurt, right?) he’s able to have a fair bit of fast food and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. For customer service numbers for companies around the United Kingdom, check out his website.