KFC may evict its core product – a big bucket filled with fried chicken legs, thighs and breasts still on the bone – from their 17,000 restaurants globally, including 4,400 in the U.S. as soon as next year.
The new bird on the KFC fence dresses up in oversized filets of boneless white and dark meat chicken chunks about twice the size of tenders — but is still deep-fried with the same super-secret spices and herbs that Coronel Sanders made famous sixty years ago. KFC executives are predicting that as early as next year, the majority of chicken sold at KFC will be boneless.
The national roll-out of Original Recipe Boneless is set to land on April 14. To entice consumers to try the coop, promotions include a two-piece meal with a side, biscuit and drink for $4.99. To wean on-the-bone chicken lovers to off-the-bone chicken, it will sell a 10 piece combo bucket for $14.99 which includes six pieces on the bone and four pieces off the bone.
While no doubt that the Coronel would have his feathers in a ruffle over the move, it is certain that curious consumers will flock to KFC to try the new uber-tenders. The gigantic media effort may lift sales, but for many industry hawks, it may be too little, too late for KFC and the $200+ billion fast-food industry, which is in chaos as upscale fast-casual chains such as Chipotle and Panera Bread, and revamped supermarket take-out sections gobble-up market share.
KFC’s other boneless picks include Famous Bowls, Chicken Littles, Dip’ems, KFC Pot Pies, Chicken Tenders and Bites.
Regular KFC customers who buy and eat the new boneless birds will no doubt be in sudden panic, wondering if they’d just swallowed whole chicken bones.