KFC is testing out an item that may sway McDonald’s fans over to its stores
Yum! Brands’ (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report KFC is making some changes to revamp, innovate, and modernize its legacy as an iconic fast-food chicken restaurant.
The granddaddy of all chicken restaurant chains has faced stiff competition across the fast-food industry in recent years for menu items featuring everything chicken.
Restaurant Brands International’s (QSR) – Get Restaurant Brands International Inc. Report Popeyes rocked the fast-food nation in 2019 when it introduced its fried chicken sandwich that led to long customer lines and sellouts at many locations.
Chick-fil-A has become the market leader in chicken sandwiches, since launching in the late-1960s, and McDonald’s (MCD) – Get McDonald’s Corporation Report has also had strong chicken products since launching McNuggets in 1983 and reintroducing the McChicken sandwich in 1988.
KFC Launches New Menu Item
KFC is hoping to excite new customers with its Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets, launching July 18 at select stores in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
The nuggets are made of 100% all-white meat chicken and are breaded in KFC’s classic array of chicken herbs and spices. Portion options include an eight-count, 12, and 36-count nuggets. Prices will vary based on the store’s location.
The new chicken nuggets can be found in Charlotte and its neighboring suburbs like Shelby, Concord, Mint Hill, and Salisbury. The nuggets are available in store, pickup, or through the drive thru.
The chicken is at select locations because the company is testing the public’s reaction to them. If the nuggets sell well, KFC will likely roll them out at more locations. In addition, the chicken nuggets would replace KFC’s popcorn chicken which is currently available nationwide.
Other companies, such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s (WEN) – Get Wendy’s Company (The) Report already have chicken nuggets and have experimented with spicy chicken nuggets, which were first introduced at Wendy’s in 2009 as a limited time offer and then became very popular with fans.
In 2017, Wendy’s took its spicy nuggets off of the menu but after fan outrage, they put the fan-favorite back on in 2019 and they have stayed ever since. McDonald’s followed with putting their own version of spicy nuggets in 2020 but are only available at some locations.
According to Chris Scott, the head chef for KFC, many younger customers don’t like bones in their wings or chicken and that boneless nuggets are an avenue worth exploring to stay with the times.
KFC Goes High-Tech to Win Back Customers
Beyond KFC’s new chicken nuggets, the fast-food chain is attempting many new ideas to innovate and reimagine itself. The company launched a mobile app for ordering ahead, delivery options, and a rewards program called Colonel’s Club that is accessible through the KFC app. Colonel’s Club launched in February 2022 as part of an effort to win back customers after having lower sales during the covid pandemic.
McDonald’s chicken nuggets are really popular with its customer base, and the BTS meal in 2021 caused McNugget sales to leap by 250%. McDonald’s cited the BTS meal, which was a 10-piece McNugget, a medium fries, drink, and two dipping sauces, as a reason for a significant jump in sales during that fiscal quarter in 2021.
KFC will have to make its nuggets special in order to compete with the dominant McNuggets. Maybe there needs to be a Harry Styles KFC nuggets meal in the future.