KFC Franchise Owners Fight Back Against Company's New, Healthier Image
Suing Over Right to Market Themselves as a 'Fried' Chicken Brand
Take note, America: there's a civil war being fought over your chicken dinners. On one side there's KFC, owned by the corporation Yum! Brands, which has been making a major push to rebrand itself as a healthy fast food option by offering lighter fare like grilled chicken. On the other: several individual KFC franchise owners who would like everyone to remember that the ‘F' in KFC stands for ‘Fried,' and they don't want the original recipe tinkered with, thank you very much..
William Eubanks, who has 29 KFC locations under his name, is one of the franchise owners fighting back against the new, leaner image. He's outraged that nearly all of KFC's new ads promote only its lower-calorie cuisine.
"We are fried chicken and we shouldn't be embarrassed about that," Eubanks told Good Morning America. "To only advertise grilled chicken in a fried chicken brand, I don't think the Colonel would be happy with it."
Judging by last year's sales, neither are many diners. While other chicken fast food outlets grew in 2011, KFC's business fell 6 percent. Now, Eubanks and other franchise owners are suing to get the company's marketing strategy changed.
Yum! Brands, however, is standing by its efforts and believe sales will eventually increase as more customers get on board with a fitter lifestyle. "What the franchisees think is interesting, but at the end of the day, what matters is what the customers think," a company rep explained. "Not everything is done in one day."
As KFC celebrates its 70th birthday, it's clear the enterprise is strongly divided. And we're sure that, if nothing else, would surely put a tear in the Colonel's eye.