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The latest news on KFC from Business Insider

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    George Hamilton+Sunscreen

    KFC is giving away 3,000 more bottles of fried-chicken scented sunscreen.

    On Monday, the chicken chain first gave away 3,000 free bottles of Col. Sanders' Extra Crispy Sunscreen and according to the company, the bottles were all claimed within three hours. 

    As a result, KFC decided to give away another batch of the sunscreen at ExtraCrispySunscreen.com. On Friday, the company will again be giving away the sunscreen on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. There's a limit of one bottle per household.

    "Suntan lotion always smells like lotion," KFC CMO Kevin Hochman told Business Insider last week. "So we thought — why not make it smell like fried chicken?"

    KFC is following up the sunscreen stunt with a new sponsored Snapchat filter, which will be available this Saturday. The filter is Colonel Sanders themed, allowing users to morph their faces into a version of the Colonel, complete with glasses, bowtie, goatee, and age spots.  

    Snapchat KFC

    The Snapchat filter and the sunscreen come on the heels of the June launch of an ad campaign starring George Hamilton as the"Extra Crispy Colonel,"promoting the chain's Extra Crispy Chicken.

    According to Hochman, response to the Extra Crispy Colonel's ads "blew away [KFC's] expectations," prompting the company to look into new ways to extend the summer campaign. Then, someone suggested KFC sunscreen.

    In addition to trying to evoke childhood memories of KFC's distinctive scent, the chicken chain is taking notes from international marketing campaigns.

    In May, KFC debuted edible nail polish in Hong Kong, as a play on the chain's "finger lickin' good" slogan. The promotion quickly went viral, providing an example of the marketing power that the limited run of a weird product mashup can have in the connected world of social media.

    The fried-chicken sunscreen went similarly viral. KFC's original tweet about the product has been retweeted more than 2,000 times, and the sunscreen has been featured in articles at publications including Business Insider, Fortune, USA Today, and even The Weather Channel. 

    But the real question is, how does the sunscreen actually smell?

    KFC_Sunscreen_Product

    Sniff-testers described the sunscreen as smelling like everything from maple syrup, to savory spices, to Milk Bar's cereal milk. One person said it smelled just as intended — like fried chicken's crispy outer coating. Others had less positive things to say. 

    "I hate you, KFC. I hate you, Col. Sanders. And, I hate you, Uppercut Marketing of Addison, Texas, for creating this promotional campaign," James Grebey wrote in his Insider review of what he calls the 'putrid' sunscreen. "I now associate the smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken with an inedible gloopy paste that I once put on my face in the name of #content, rather than food."

    In May 2015, KFC kicked off a new era in marketing with the reintroduction of Colonel Sanders. Since then, the brand has debuted a number of variations on the Colonel, a "Re-Colonelization" program, and new menu items including a take on the regional classic, Nashville Hot Chicken. Now, the brand has a sunscreen.

    This may not be the end of KFC's venture into creating mashups between fried chicken and everyday products. While Hochman says the chicken chain is "probably not" going to release an entire line of male grooming products, he hints the chicken chain may be releasing similar products in the future. 

    "Why wouldn't you want to smell like fried chicken?" he asks.

    SEE ALSO: Taco Bell is taking on Chick-fil-A with an outrageous new menu item

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I tried the Whopperrito — Burger King’s Whopper now in burrito form


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    ButtermilkChickenArby's is revamping its fried chicken.

    The chain is now selling sandwiches made with a new chicken breast fillet, Arby's told Business Insider. The upgraded fillet is bigger than the brand's previous version, marinated in buttermilk and coated in a buttermilk breading.

    The result, according to Arby's senior vice president of product development Jim Taylor, is juicier and more flavorful, with a mix of sweet and savory that aims to "excite more areas of your palate."

    The upgraded chicken will be used on Arby's menu mainstays Chicken Bacon Swiss, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Crispy Chicken, as well as the new limited-time Buttermilk Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is launching nationwide on Monday.

    Fried Chicken Sandwiches Arby's 12

    "We definitely needed something that was spicy and also unique to Arby's," Taylor told Business Insider of the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. A hand-dipped buffalo sandwich fit the bill, as something sold at bar and grills or casual dining restaurants, but rarely appearing on the menu at fast-food chains. 

    Taylor said that Arby's chicken relaunch was in response to the chain looking for areas where it was falling short. 

    "We ask ourselves, 'Are there areas or gaps that we don't fulfill?'" he says.

    Chicken was one area Arby's felt it could improve, with sales failing to measure up with what the company believed they could be. A new fillet and the accompanying push to market the chain's chicken sandwiches at a time when Americans are craving higher-quality and more flavorful versions of fried chicken could be a major game changer for the chain.

    "I think America has always had a love affair with fried chicken," says Taylor. "Let's face it, a lot of things taste great fried."

    taco bell naked chicken

    Arby's isn't the only chain angling to get in on the fried chicken game.

    In 2015, Burger King launched its Chicken Fries and McDonald's reintroduced Chicken Selects. Taco Bell is now planning a national launch of a taco that uses fried chicken as the tortilla, as well as testing other fried-chicken menu items.

    Chicken chain Chick-fil-A hasexploded from a regional chain to the No. 1 chicken chain in the US by sales in recent years. Meanwhile, rival KFC is in the midst of a brand revamp, putting its extra crispy and regional takes on fried chicken front and center.

    Part of the explosion of fried chicken in the fast-food and fast-casual industry is due to lower chicken prices.

    However, another factor is simply that Americans are craving fried chicken. According to the public-perception tracker YouGov Brand Index data, the chicken sector has been the No. 1 category in the fast-food business by purchase consideration since April, when it eclipsed the burger sector.

    The American fast-food industry is entering a golden age of fried chicken. With its new fried-chicken fillet and the Buffalo Chicken sandwich, Arby's wants in on the action.

    SEE ALSO: America's 'better burger' obsession is fading as a new kind of fast food takes over

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    George Hamilton+Sunscreen

    Earlier this week, I went to the roof of Business Insider's building to apply some limited edition sunscreen that KFC created as part of an evil promotional campaign. The sunscreen smelled like fried chicken, grease, and despair.

    It was terrible. 

    Thankfully, after my ordeal was over, I could rest easy knowing that KFC had only made 3,000 bottles of this milky, poultry-scented, SPF 30 paste, and they were all gone. All of the sunscreen was gone. It would never harm another soul. 

    And then KFC sent out a press release saying they were releasing another batch of Col. Sanders' Extra Crispy Sunscreen on Friday, August 26. 

    How dare they? How dare they?

    This is what I looked and felt like when I put the sunscreen on:

    I hate myself and also the world

    Anybody who wants to experience this monstrosity can try to snag one of the bottles for free at KFC's special website

    The fast food chain is also going to have a special Snapchat filter tomorrow, August 27, so folks that don't want to smell like chicken can get in on that sweet #brand action, too.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This is the best way to debone a whole chicken


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    KFC vs Popeye's 2

    Colonel Sanders' nephew recently revealed what he claims is the secret recipe for KFC chicken. Although KFC has since denied that this is the exact formula, we assume that it's close. The nephew, Joe Ledington, did have it in a handwritten note taken from the colonel's second wife's will, and he claims that his job as a boy was to mix the spice blend in a tub.

    The famous blend of 11 herbs and spices includes only one real surprise: a ton of white pepper.

    "The main ingredient is white pepper," Ledington told the Chicago Tribune. "I call that the secret ingredient. Nobody knew what white pepper was. Nobody knew how to use it" in the 1950s.

    Food scientist Dr. Steven Witherly, author of "Why Humans Like Junk Food," was taken aback when he saw the recipe.

    "Wow, that much white pepper?" he says was his first reaction.

    But he also thinks that it makes a lot of sense.

    "I've had a lot of chefs tell me that the most underappreciated of all spices is white pepper because it has subtle but very strong effects on the sensory system," Witherly said.

    White pepper is the husked form of the more common black pepper. Cooks Illustrated says that it has a more floral, earthy flavor and greater complexity, while black pepper is more aromatic with more spicy heat. Interestingly, Google searches for white pepper have doubled over the past decade.

    White pepper also has some powerful physiological effects thanks to a compound called piperine. Piperine has been shown to do a wide variety of things, including activating taste receptors to make salt taste saltier and sugar taste sweeter, activating a special receptor in your brain that triggers the release of feel-good endorphins, increasing intestinal water flow and production of digestive enzymes, and possibly even helping to counteract the effects of high-fat diets.

    The upshot, according to Witherly, is that it could make KFC more addicting.

    "One of the theories I've put forth is that if you eat something that does something to you and it's beneficial, your brain figures it out ... it wants you to do it again," Witherly says.

    KFC's alleged secret recipe is as follows:

    • 2 cups white flour plus 2/3 tbsp. salt
    • 1/2 tbsp. thyme
    • 1/2 tbsp. basil
    • 1/3 tbsp. oregano
    • 1 tbsp. celery salt
    • 1 tbsp. black pepper
    • 1 tbsp. dried mustard
    • 4 tbsp. paprika
    • 2 tbsp. garlic salt
    • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
    • 3 tbsp. white pepper

    As great as white pepper may be, of course, other factors may be more important in making it delicious. Witherly concludes in "Why Humans Like Junk Food" that the key to KFC's deliciousness is the combination of flavor-active compounds flour, salt, pepper, and MSG with a pressure-cooking technique that retains the chicken's moistness and juiciness.

    And that's why 12 million people eat KFC every day.

    SEE ALSO: The amazing story of Colonel Sanders

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    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A teen built a KFC chicken vending machine made entirely of Lego blocks — here's how it works


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    Colonel Sanders' nephew casually revealed to a reporter a recipe that had been passed down in a family scrapbook.

    Could this be KFC's closely guarded secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices? The nephew, Joe Ledington, said it is. He claims his job as a kid was to mix this same recipe in large batches.

    KFC, after an initially cagey response, outright denied that this is the recipe.

    Still, it's the closest we've got to a recipe that has boosted KFC's flavor and mystique, making it one of the most popular restaurants in the world. Check it out below, along with commentary from food scientist Steven Witherly.

    Artboard 1

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    In the ultimate fried-chicken blind taste test, we compared the original recipe from Popeyes and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    It was almost too close to call, but our staff came away with a clear winner.

    Follow BI Video:On Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    KFC vs Popeye's 5

    KFC's secret recipe may or may not have been revealed recently, but the science behind why it tastes so good is clear.

    Steve Witherly devoted a whole section to KFC in his 2007 book, "Why Humans Like Junk Food." Keep reading to see insights pulled from the book and Business Insider's interview with Witherly:

    SEE ALSO: We did a blind taste test of KFC and Popeyes fried chicken — here's the verdict

    DON'T MISS: KFC is making a comeback

    High calorie density is intrinsically appealing.

    Because humans evolved as foragers, our brains learned to recognize and desire things that pack a lot of calories.

    The caloric density scale ranges from 0 for water to 9 for pure fat.

    While raw chicken breast without the skin has a caloric density of 1.35, KFC's original chicken breast scores 2.3; the extra crispy version gets a 2.9. The skin by itself scores an intoxicating 5.0.

    "Ergo, the chicken is only a vehicle for eating the skin," Witherly wrote.



    Salt makes it super delicious.

    Humans have evolved to love salty things — a result of our bodies needing sodium to function properly while our sweat glands constantly deplete the supply, according to Witherly.

    One KFC original chicken breast contains 1.1 grams of sodium, amounting to a staggering 48% of your recommended daily value.

    All told, salt makes up around 1.85% of the weight of the meal. That's right around the ideal level of salt for human enjoyment of dry foods, according to Witherly.

    His theory is that it's perfect for us, since a bite of it combined with the saliva in your mouth brings the salt content to approximately the 1% level found in your blood.



    MSG supercharges everything.

    KFC adds the infamous flavor-booster monosodium glutamate, or MSG, to dozens of items, as detailed on the company website. It also uses foods naturally high in effectively similar free glutamates, like chicken.

    MSG enhances salt taste and salt-taste pleasure while also triggering the brothy umami taste.

    Although MSG has gotten a bad rap, most scientists agree that it's safe, as no studies have shown that it causes headaches or other supposed negative effects.

    Witherly himself likes to use it (combined with salt at a 9:1 ratio) in his home cooking.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    KFC Buckets SpeechThere's a new Colonel Sanders at KFC — again.

    The fried-chicken chain has hired actor and comedian Rob Riggle to portray its founder, Colonel Sanders, in a series of ads tied to the kickoff of the NFL football season.

    The new ads show the Colonel founding a new professional football team called the Kentucky Buckets — "the first professional football team fueled by fried chicken." The commercials will begin airing on Thursday, after going live on KFC's YouTube channel on Wednesday night. 

    The ads highlight KFC's $20 Fill Up, including the new Extra Crispy Tenders Fill Up meal, which includes 12 extra cripsy tenders, a large cole slaw, four biscuits, and two large mashed potatoes with gravy.

    Riggle, who is best known for acting as a correspondent on the Daily Show and a cast member on Saturday Night Live, follows in the footsteps of a number of other comedians tapped to play the Colonel since Darrell Hammond brought the founder back from the dead in May 2015. Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, and most recently, George Hamilton have all appeared as Colonel Sanders in KFC advertising over the last year.

    KFC RiggleRiggle's version of the Colonel is intended to sell the chicken chain to football fans — a hugely profitable market.

    This NFL season, advertisers are paying record figures to show ads during football games, reports Sports Business Daily. Fox is reportedly charging roughly $700,000 for 30-second spots during games with 4:25 p.m. kickoffs. 

    When KFC reintroduced the Colonel in 2015, many customers were skeptical or disgusted that the chain would revive its founder — a real person — from the dead. 

    "So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it," Greg Creed, the CEO of KFC's parent company, Yum Brands, said at a conference a few weeks after the commercial ran. "And I am actually quite happy that 20% hate it, because now they at least have an opinion."

    KFC

    The controversial move has paid off for the chain. In July, Yum Brands announced that KFC had reported its eighth consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth, after a period of slumping sales.

    CMO Kevin Hochman thinks the turnaround is due in part to the renewed role of the Colonel.

    "We have to have a point of view," Hochman told Business Insider in May. "We've been playing it safe for so many years — some people will like it, some people won't like it, but at the end of the day if we're growing our business and we get more people into our brand, it's worth it."

    Now, the use of Riggle serves as a tongue-in-cheek response to some of the Colonel's biggest critics. 

    "Rob Riggle was the obvious choice for those on the internet calling for us to use the real Kentucky Colonel in our ads," Hochman said in a statement on Wednesday. "He was born in Louisville, Kentucky and served our country as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines.  It doesn’t get any more real than that."

    SEE ALSO: KFC says it has been making the same mistake for decades — but now it has a plan to beat Chick-fil-A

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We did a blind taste test of KFC and Popeyes fried chicken — here's the verdict


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    Colonel Sanders' nephew casually revealed to a reporter a recipe that had been passed down in a family scrapbook. KFC has denied that this recipe is authentic, but that hasn't stopped people from attempting to make it. 

    Follow BI Video: On Twitter 

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    It turns out the "healthy" options at fast-food chains are often not all that healthy.

    Produced by Jacqui Frank. Original reporting by Jessica Orwig.

    Follow BI Video: On Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Burger King's Buffalo Chicken Fries

    At a time when Doritos can serve as the base of a taco shell and Cheetos dust has become a star ingredient, it's hard to see where fast-food chains will draw the line.

    The battle for consumers has gotten so intense that simply adding a thicker slice of bacon or trotting out a new sauce no longer moves the needle. Instead, consumers need to be wowed and, as often as not, that means doing something outrageous.

    In a world where both bacon and hot dogs have been stuffed along with cheese into the crust of a pizza, even the truly absurd seems plausible. Yum! Brands Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC continue to come up with even wilder menu items and Restaurant Brands International's Burger King must have some kind of test kitchen working on new ways to merge its products with Cheetos.

    Why is this happening?

    Jonathan Deutsch, a professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science at Drexel University, said in an email interview with The Motley Fool that fast food and quick serve restaurants (QSR) have been trying bolder innovation due to how competitive the sector has become.

    By introducing a new, must-try item like this, they get people in the door. Even if the item is somewhat niche, it gets people, groups of friends and families to purchase additional products as well and reminds guests of that restaurant as a meal option.

    Deutsch also noted that adding familiar products (like Doritos or Cheetos) to the mix makes people want the item even more. "By associating a product with a highly crave-able snack food, it puts in the consumer's head that their taco, burger, or fries are similarly crave-able," he wrote.

    Scott Rothbort, chief market strategist for Seton Hall University who specializes in food and restaurant stock investing, echoed his colleague's sentiments. "These chains need reasons to attract marginal customers," told the Fool. "They do so by introducing these limited time offerings of new products."

    Doritos Locos

    In a separate email, Blaze PR President Matt Kovacs, whose fast-casual clients include Chronic Tacos, Bareburger, Burgerim, and Blue C Sushi, said that QSR trends reflect the nature of our society.

    Everything is bigger now. Just look at the political landscape; Donald Trump has shown us that the more shocking something is, the more of an impact and impression it makes on people. We're just seeing that being reflected in the fast-food industry.

    This is not going to slow down

    Kovacs expects the extreme trend to continue in the fast-food space.

    We've seen it grow and develop over the years, thanks to shows like Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. The fast-food industry is picking up on the fascination with the exotic in a race to outdo the last guy.

    Michael Mohammed, the CEO of Chronic Tacos, a chain built on classic recipes, told the Fool that he believes this trend has just started, but that it does have an end date. "It's become a creativity competition between brands; but there's a point where it gets over done," he wrote. "The outrageousness creates confusion and starts to contradict what people actually want to eat."  

    Mohammed believes that gimmicks can get people in the door, but ultimately that is only a short-term fix.

    The real battle for consumers comes down to are they going to have a good experience when they dine, will the food taste good, and can they share it with their friends? That's how the awareness of a brand spreads. The Cheetos Chicken Fry doesn't really seem to carry itself beyond the initial trial.

    doritos

    What's coming next?

    If you think the items already being sold are over the top, Brent Dowling, CEO of RainTree, a franchise development organization, said to expect even more outrageous offerings going forward. Dowling, who has worked with brands including Doc Popcorn, Kono Pizza, Rush Bowls, Vitality Bowls, and many more sees the mixing of brands as something that will become even more prevalent.

    You'll also see an increase in brands incorporating products by other well-known brands into their offerings, not unlike Burger King's Cheetos Chicken Fries...Brands will continue to stretch the creativity line.

    He also expects portability to be a growing trend and he noted that one of the chains he works with, Kono USA, has introduced pizza, breakfast, dessert and deli options in an edible pizza dough cone that can be held in one hand. And despite him pushing pizza cones, Dowling does believe healthy items will make a comeback.

    Consumers demand variety and are more concerned with eating healthier than ever before. But they have also demonstrated that they are not willing to compromise on taste.

    Mohammed agreed that healthier choices will be part of the next wave of innovation. "I'm starting to see a trend of chef inspired meals; something visually appealing and creative but that you feel good about eating, as well," he wrote. That healthy trend was echoed by Rothbort, who believes that "we will see QSRs begin to roll out non-GMO products."

    Deutsch does not think that fast-food companies will stop marketing ridiculous menu items tied to snack foods, but he does agree that healthier choices will be part of the future. "We are seeing overall trends like interests in healthier but still delicious options, more opportunities for fresh flavors, global flavors, and lower-on-the-food chain options," he pointed out.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Jollibee

    The biggest fast-food chain in the Philippines is expanding in the US.

    Jollibee, known for its "Chickenjoy" fried chicken, sweet spaghetti, and halo-halo iced desserts, is about to open its second location in the Midwest and will soon expand into Florida and New York City. 

    The company is mapping out an expansion to other "key cities" soon as well "where there is a good density of Filipinos," Jollibee North America President Jose Maria Minana told Business Insider.

    Jollibee currently has 34 locations in the US, primarily located in California. Globally, Jollibee has a total of 1,090 stores. The company's system-wide sales jumped 10.9% last year to $2.9 billion.

    The chain — which is like a cross between McDonald's and KFC with a side of spaghetti — has a cult following among Filipinos.

    mmmm jollibee! #xtinefooddiary

    A photo posted by CHICAGO FOODIE (@xtinefooddiary) on Sep 23, 2016 at 10:59am PDT on

    Thousands of people flocked to the opening of Jollibee's first Midwest location in August and waited in lines lasting up to eight hours to get food, Minana said.

    Is it that good?

    A photo posted by Charlie Billups (@charliebillups1) on Sep 5, 2016 at 2:50pm PDT on

    "We were really overwhelmed by the reaction," he said. "We expected a line ... but to wait in line for seven or eight hours?"

    No Jollibee today. Not going to wait in that line.

    A photo posted by Chuck Rico (@ricochuck) on Sep 19, 2016 at 2:43pm PDT on

    Weeks after the opening, the lines still stretched out the door and with waits lasting up to two hours, Eater Chicago reports.

    On any given weekend day, the Skokie store typically attracts about 5,000 people. Minana said he expects that number to fall once Jollibee opens its second Illinois location this fall. 

    No Jollibee today. Not going to wait in that line.

    A photo posted by Chuck Rico (@ricochuck) on Sep 19, 2016 at 2:43pm PDT on

    Minana attributes the Jollibee obsession to its menu, which is catered to the Filipino palate. 

    The "Chickenjoy" fried chicken is the chain's flagship menu item.

    #chibogtime #jollibee

    A photo posted by Ramon (@ramon813) on Sep 7, 2016 at 7:05am PDT on

    It's "crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside," according to a Yelp review."There isn't much seasoning, but Filipinos like to dip their chicken with the gravy and eat it with rice. Hence the gravy for all chicken orders."

    Finally~ #chickenjoy #peachmangopie #lotsofgravy #jollibee #notafatass #filipinofood

    A photo posted by Ana Khuu (@smil3ana) on Aug 25, 2016 at 10:49am PDT on

    The spaghetti is also a favorite item, with sweet sauce, slices of ham and sausage, and ground beef, topped with cheese. 

    I guess I have to enjoy my Spaghetti combo in the car aka Sonic Drive In style

    A photo posted by Ross A. Buniao (@rossbuniao) on Aug 21, 2016 at 4:31pm PDT on

    The chain serves burgers, as well. The "Amazing Aloha" is a hamburger with bacon, lettuce, cheese, and a thick pineapple ring topped with honey mustard sauce.

    Time for lunch with the aloha burger and a peach mango pie

    A photo posted by JustAFungus (@kuribo34) on Sep 5, 2016 at 10:15am PDT on

    There's also a "burger steak" served with gravy, mushrooms, and rice; "fiesta noodles" featured noodles in a garlic sauce with sautéed pork, shrimp, parsley flakes, and slices of egg; and corned-beef sandwiches. 

    Breakfast consists of beef tenders, sweet pork, corned beef, or pork sausage with rice, egg, and tomatoes.

    For dessert, you can order the peach-mango pie, which has a crispy pie shell with warm fruit inside. 

    Burger Steak!!!! #jollibee #filipino #foodie #chicago

    A photo posted by Bryan Jerger (@dataznguy1) on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:07pm PDT on

    "The peach mango pie was fantastic, it's basically a large egg roll with hot mango peach filing," one Yelp reviewer wrote

    #charieats #halohalo and #chickenjoy 😃 Sunday cravings

    A photo posted by Marie Charmaine Floro Alvarez (@chari_eats) on Aug 14, 2016 at 12:39pm PDT on

    There's also the halo-halo, which features ube ice cream (named after the sweet purple yam that's used to make it), leche flan (a creamy custard), sweetened condensed milk, and a mix of fruit and jellies under a bed of shaved iced.

    SEE ALSO: A grocery chain that's a cross between Kroger and Trader Joe's is descending on the US

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chick fil AThe secret to Chick-fil-A's success is as simple as saying "please" and "thank you."

    The chicken chain is statistically the most polite chain in the restaurant business, according to a QSR Magazine's annual drive-thru report released on Monday.

    Employees at Chick-fil-A were the most likely of the 15 chains surveyed to say "please" and "thank you," and to smile at drive-thru customers. Chick-fil-A workers were also as the second most likely to have a "pleasant demeanor," only topped by the up-and-coming fast-food chain PDQ.

    According to the report, Chick-fil-A employees said "thank you" in 95.2% of drive-thru encounters, based on data from nearly 2,000 visits to 15 restaurant chains.

    For comparison, KFC had a "thank you" rate of 84.9%. McDonald's rate was 78.4%, putting it in 14th place out of the 15 chains analyzed. 

    "It’s all about speed and accuracy, but we know our customers appreciate that we can be nice while being fast and accurate," Mark Moraitakis, senior director of hospitality and service design, told QSR."Eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience."

    chick fil a

    Chick-fil-A has taken pains to make its drive-thru strategy as customer-friendly as possible, reports QSR. The chain has dedicated drive-thru teams, made up of compatible Chick-fil-A employees, and sends employees with tablets out to the drive-thru lane to take orders when lines begin to form. 

    While small pleasantries are easy to dismiss in the multi-billion dollar restaurant business, these little things have played a key role in setting Chick-fil-A apart from the competition.

    In 2015, Chick-fil-A generated more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US. The chain's average sales per restaurant reached nearly $4 million.

    Meanwhile, the average KFC sold $1 million in 2015.

    Analysts have said that customer service is key to Chick-fil-A's success. Superior customer service drives higher sales per unit, contributing to the chain's ability to generate greater revenue than chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Domino's with more than twice as many US locations.

    According to Chick-fil-A, the chain has the upper hand when it comes to customer service because it invests more than other companies in training its employees. The chicken chain's unique business structure, in which each franchisee is only allowed to open one Chick-fil-A location, further allows for more hands-on supervision and training. 

    SEE ALSO: These 10 companies control everything you buy

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chick-fil-A

    Chick-fil-A is dominating fast food.

    The company generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US, according to QSR magazine.

    Chick-fil-A's average sales per restaurant in 2015 were $3.9 million. Its fried-chicken competitor KFC sold about $1 million per restaurant that year.

    The sub chain Jason's Deli ranked a distant second with $2.7 million in per-restaurant sales, followed by Whataburger and McDonald's, each with $2.5 million in per-restaurant sales.

    So what is the secret to Chick-fil-A's success?

    According to a new study from QSR and research firm SeeLevelHX, Chick-fil-A has the best drive-thru service of any of its competitors.

    The chain scored the highest marks on employee politeness at the drive thru, according to the study, which compiled data from 2,000 visits to 15 fast-food chains.

    Employees said "thank you," smiled, and had a pleasant demeanor during nine out of 10 visits.

    Chick-fil-a momsThe chain also had the second-highest rate of accuracy at the drive thru. Chick-fil-A got orders right 95% of the time, which made it second only to Carl's Jr.'s accuracy rate of 97%.

    The only place where Chick-fil-A didn't rank highly was in speed of service.

    The average wait time at Chick-fil-A's drive thru is 4 minutes and 16 seconds, which is about 31 seconds longer than the average drive-thru wait time.

    The drive thru is an essential element to the fast-food business. It's estimated that 60% to 70% of fast-food chains' business comes through the outside car lanes.

    One reason for Chick-fil-A's high scores on service is its face-to-face ordering process, in which employees stand outside and take drive-thru customers' orders using tablet computers.

    That leaves less room for error and provides a more personable experience at the drive thru. It's also meant to speed up the ordering process.

    The strategy was started by local Chick-fil-A operators in Houston and it's now being rolled out nationwide, according to QSR.

    SEE ALSO: Chick-fil-A manager reveals one test workers need to pass to get hired

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    George Hamilton+SunscreenOne-and-a-half years after Colonel Sanders' return to KFC marketing, the chain is in full comeback mode.

    On Wednesday, KFC reported that US same-store sales increased 6% compared to the same quarter last year, a growth of 8% compared to the same quarter in 2014.

    "I wouldn't say it was an abrupt change," Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in a call with analysts on Thursday, in response to a question on Taco Bell and KFC's impressive quarter. "KFC US just delivered its 9th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth."

    Creed attributed KFC's growth, following what executives have called "decades" of stagnant sales, to "distinctive and disruptive advertising and positioning," as well as "breakthrough marketing."

    The biggest change in marketing KFC that made in the last two years is indisputably bringing back Colonel Sanders.

    kfc norm macdonald

    When KFC announced the return of the Colonel in May 2015, some customers were less than pleased.

    At the time, Creed said of the new campaign, "So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it. And I am actually quite happy that 20% hate it, because now they at least have an opinion. They’re actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate; you cannot market to indifference."

    Creed's emphasis on emotion — even negative emotion — over indifference has paid off over the last year and a half in quarter after quarter of sales growth, despite generally sluggish sales in the restaurant industry. Since Darrell Hammond brought KFC's founder back from the dead, comedians including Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, George Hamilton, and, most recently, Rob Riggle have taken on the role in advertising.

    Hamilton's role as the "Extra-Crispy Colonel" demonstrated just how important the Colonel's role can be. Hamilton's Colonel represented just one product, Extra Crispy Chicken, in a campaign that Yum says drove much of KFC's sales growth in the third quarter.

    Extra Crispy

    While the Colonel has been the most obvious change at KFC during the turnaround, the brand has also made some more subtle changes. There is more attention to quality, with restaurant remodelings, a public recommitment to quality called"Re-Colonelization," and new regional items with a more culinary-bent to the menu, such as Nashville Hot Chicken and Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ.

    However, at KFC, all these changes point back to the Colonel, who has become a symbol of quality and "doing things the hard way" at the chain— something that the brand hopes Sanders will soon represent to the general public as well.

    KFC was a bright spot for parent company Yum Brands in the third quarter, as the company reported weaker than expected earnings Wednesday due to struggles in China. Same-store sales — at locations open for at least one year — fell by 1% in the country, missing analysts' forecast for a gain by 4.1%, with Yum blaming tension in the South China Sea.

    SEE ALSO: KFC says it has been making the same mistake for decades — but now it has a plan to beat Chick-fil-A

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    KFC Vincent Kartheiser

    As KFC's Colonel Sanders campaigns continue to boost sales, the chain is introducing a new Colonel to promote the return of Nashville Hot Chicken. 

    On Monday, October 10, KFC plans to debut advertising starring Vincent Kartheiser as the "heartthrob" Nashville Hot Colonel. At 37, Kartheiser, who is best known for his role as Pete on AMC's Mad Men, is younger than past Colonels played by comedians including Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, George Hamilton, and, most recently, Rob Riggle.

    Kartheiser's Colonel will be used to promote the return of Nashville Hot Chicken to KFC's menu, as well as the launch of new Nashville Hot Chicken Little sandwiches. 

    KFC first debuted the regional chicken dish in January, as a limited time offering. Originally some customers, especially Nashville natives, were skeptical. However, KFC says that the launch was one of the most successful in the chain's history — and that Nashville, Tennessee was the top-selling city. 

    vincent kartheiser

    Kartheiser's Nashville Hot Colonel is the second Colonel Sanders to market a specific menu item. Over the summer, George Hamilton represented just one product, Extra Crispy Chicken, in a campaign that Yum says drove much of KFC's sales growth in the third quarter.

    In the one-and-a-half years since Colonel Sanders' return to KFC marketing, the Colonel-centric campaigns have helped elevate the chain to full comeback mode.

    On Wednesday, KFC reported that US same-store sales increased 6% compared to the same quarter last year, a growth of 8% compared to the same quarter in 2014.

    "I wouldn't say it was an abrupt change," Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in a call with analysts on Thursday, in response to a question on Taco Bell and KFC's impressive quarter. "KFC US just delivered its 9th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth."

    George Hamilton+Sunscreen

    Creed attributed KFC's growth, following what executives have called "decades" of stagnant sales,to "distinctive and disruptive advertising and positioning," as well as "breakthrough marketing."

    The biggest change in marketing KFC that made in the last two years is indisputably bringing back Colonel Sanders.

    When KFC announced the return of the Colonel in May 2015, some customers were less than pleased.

    At the time, Creed said of the new campaign,"So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it. And I am actually quite happy that 20% hate it, because now they at least have an opinion. They’re actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate; you cannot market to indifference."

    Vincent Kartheiser

    Creed's emphasis on emotion — even negative emotion — over indifference has paid off over the last year and a half in quarter after quarter of sales growth, despitegenerally sluggish sales in the restaurant industry.

    While the Colonel has been the most obvious change at KFC during the turnaround, the brand has also made some more subtle changes.There is more attention to quality, with restaurant remodelings, a public recommitment to quality called "Re-Colonelization," and new regional items with a more culinary-bent to the menu, such as Nashville Hot Chicken and Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ.

    However, at KFC, all these changes point back to the Colonel, who has become a symbol ofquality and "doing things the hard way" at the chain— something that the brand hopes Sanders will soon represent to the general public as well.

    KFC was a bright spot for parent company Yum Brands in the third quarter, as the company reported weaker than expected earnings Wednesday due to struggles in China.Same-store sales — at locations open for at least one year — fell by 1% in the country, missing analysts' forecast for a gain by 4.1%,with Yum blamingtension in theSouth China Sea.

    SEE ALSO: We tried KFC's controversial new chicken — here's why you shouldn't believe the critics

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    NOW WATCH: A teen built a KFC chicken vending machine made entirely of Lego blocks — here's how it works


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    KFC_NashvilleSecretSlideshow16

    The Kentucky Fried Chicken Colonel Sanders is taking many different forms these days. 

    In a marketing campaign to liven up the chicken chain, the elderly Colonel has been replaced by the likes of Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Riggle, and now it’s been announced that “Mad Men” star Vincent Kartheiser is the latest to embody the mascot with the new image above.

    Kartheiser will look a little different from his Pete Campbell days. In the campaign he's the “Nashville Hot Colonel,” since KFC has brought back its popular Nashville Hot Chicken.

    “Like KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, I’m a bit of a rebel decked out in authentic Nashville flavor — a perfect combination of classic and cool,” Kartheiser said in a statement sent out by KFC (via Ad Week). 

    Here’s a teaser of Kartheiser in the ad campaign:

    SEE ALSO: Matt Damon addresses the whitewashing controversy surrounding his new movie "The Great Wall"

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    Based on what we know, Donald Trump's diet is very unhealthy. Some of his favorites include fast food, red meat, and candy. In addition to that, he told Dr. Oz that he doesn't get a lot of exercise either. 

    For someone who continues to take shots at his opponent's health, Trump might want to reexamine his own nutrition choices.

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    chick fil aRestaurant chains are finally realizing that it pays to be polite.

    Last year, Chick-fil-A beat out all other fast-food chains in the US in terms of per unit sales, averaging nearly $4 million in sales per restaurant. 

    The reason for Chick-fil-A's success? According to analysts, it's in part to do with superior customer service. And other restaurant chains have taken notice. 

    "[Customer service] is absolutely critical,” Arby's CEO Paul Brown told Business Insider on Thursday, acknowledging Chick-fil-A's dominance. "There are more choices out there… Look at retail! You have the choice of if you even want to go into a store at all."

    Chick-fil-A leads the industry in customer satisfaction, regularly topping the American Customer Service Index's annual ranking. Compared to employees at 15 chains, employees at Chick-fil-A are the most likely to say "please" and "thank you," and to smile at drive-thru customers, according to QSR Magazine's annual drive-thru report.

    chick fil a worker

    But improving customer service isn't an easy fix, especially for large fast-food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Domino's, which have more than twice as many US locations than Chick-fil-A. 

    In this area, Chick-fil-A has a leg up on the competition due to its structure. Each franchisee operates just one location, allowing for more hands-on training. Typically, franchised chains like Arby’s, KFC, and McDonald’s don’t have a set limit on how many locations a franchisee can open, with franchisees operating up to hundreds of restaurants.

    Realizing the difficulties in achieving consistent quality across 3,300 locations worldwide, Arby's began prioritizing customer service a few years ago in an effort to catch up to chains like Chick-fil-A. 

    In 2014, the chain began requiring all employees to attend an annual Brand Champ training. The training attempts to both help employees understand why Arby's operates the way it does and assist workers in achieving their own goals, in and out of Arby’s.

    Brand Champ

    "Employers are constantly just telling employees what to do," Brown said. "But, people are engaged very differently when you're telling them why."

    In the last year, Arby’s year-over-year customer service scores jumped 8%, according to data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index — one of the most significant leaps in the restaurant industry. According to Arby's, 9 out of 10 customers have reported increased customer satisfaction over the last two years.

    It's also paying off financially, with 23 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth. In August, the company announced two-year same-store sales growth of 11.3% in the second quarter, amidst a downturn in the wider restaurant industry.

    KFC

    Earlier this year, KFC debuted "Re-Colonelization," a public recommitment to quality involving national employee retraining and a new satisfaction guarantee that is largely focused on boosting customer service.

    "Operations, quite frankly, have been broken for a long time," KFC CMO Kevin Hochman told Business Insider in May.

    The chain spent more than 100,000 hours retraining employees. 

    Just as Arby’s has attempted to use more subtle ways to better engage employees, KFC has added touches to redesigned locations in an effort to reduce turnover and encourage more applications. In the kitchen, new signs encourage employees to "Make the Colonel proud." Blackboards at remodeled locations tell customers where the chicken comes from and who the chef is in the kitchen that day.

    KFC

    KFC says taste scores have substantially increased across locations since Re-Colonelization began. Sales are also up, with the chain hitting its 9th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth earlier in October.

    The restaurant industry is a tough business to be in with 2016. Only 30% of restaurant operators reported same-store sales increases in the last year, and just one in three expect sales to grow in the next six months, according to National Restaurant Association data. 

    One of the biggest distinguishing points between the chains that are thriving and those that are struggling is customer service.

    Customers return to and become loyal to chains where they can expect accuracy, friendliness, and a simple "please" and "thank you." 

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    kfc

    While McDonald’s youth focused YouTube channel went as quickly as it came, KFC’s punt in the influencer space is showing signs it could be here to stay after the first series of its music based channel saw 96% favourable brand sentiment among those viewers who tuned in to watch.

    KFC’s 99 Gigs campaign launched in March this year, and the brand brought on board Callux and Charlotte de Carle, a YouTuber and an Instagrammer, to co-create a youth focused YouTube series called ‘KFC Presents: Around the world in 99 Gigs’.

    Each episode of the series was posted on YouTube every other week, and the hosts were sent in search of cool and quirky undiscovered musicians from around the world to engage the hard-to-reach youth audience.

    The 12-part series reached 6.2 million views in total, and KFC is now planning the launch of a second series. Speaking to The Drum Meghan Farren chief marketing officer at KFC UK & Ireland at Yum! Brands, explained how having a clear role for the channel in the overcrowded content space, helped the brand achieve success.

    “We were very clear on the role of what that channel was trying to do and very clear in its scope and who we were trying to produce content for,” she said. “Being super clear on how you want to use it [YouTube] is important. Also, we were very strict on the brief to the hosts, so they were clear on the job that they were doing and we worked very closely in partnership with them. I don’t know what McDonalds did and how they worked with their influencers but for us it’s been highly successful in engaging a youth audience.”

    One ingredient in KFC’s recipe for success that sets it apart from McDonald’s axed ‘Channel Us’ attempt, is how the brand tapped into the trend of instant gratification as well as experiences. As part of the campaign, KFC fans could become a ‘99p VIP’ by claiming an offer on chicken via its loyalty programme Colonel’s Club. This gave consumers the chance to win gig tickets, following any purchase from its snacking menu as well as contest for the chance to join hosts Callux and Charlotte around the world.

    Elsewhere, KFC is readying its latest BBH-created campaign set to launch on 28 November, which is the first push for the restaurant since introducing a new tone of voice and visual identity to better compete against the increased marketing budgets from the likes of Deliveroo and UberEats. While specific details of the new campaign are yet to be revealed, KFC will be focusing on how it can reflect British culture, given that the brand is deeply tied to the American deep south, yet still maintain its heritage.

    “We hope the new campaign will help us tell our brand story,” continued Farren. “We have a true story in the Colonel and brands would kill to have the actual real heritage that we have so you will see us tap in to that a little more but also in a fresh and contemporary way.

    "[It is about] making sure the brand is relevant in our consumers lives today and that it is in British culture, which is something that we are focusing on and investing in now…You will see as our marketing rolls out that rather than just talking about our food we will try to connect with our consumers in an emotional way in a way that is relevant to what is going on in UK culture today."

    Convenience is another key area for KFC, specifically how the meaning of it among consumers is changing rapidly since the introduction of fast food restaurants half a century ago. While the drive-through was once the height of service for consumers, advancements in technology have led them to demand more from brands, particularly in the food industry.

    That’s why KFC has been trialing a delivery service and launched an app to test different ways of ordering in its restaurants. While it’s still early days for the brand in the highly competitive delivery space, Farren said trials are going “extremely well” and are “driving incremental sales growth” in both areas.

    “What we are trying to do is launch it at pace but in a way that is operationally sustainable. It’s about making sure the partners we use to toll out with are viable and will deliver a great experience to the customer. We can only go at the pace at which we can get the right partners signed up.”

    SEE ALSO: Chipotle is airing TV ads for the first time in 4 years as it bids to turnaround plummeting sales

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