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The latest news on KFC from Business Insider

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    kfc norm macdonaldKFC is doubling down on Colonel Sanders as it prepares to reveal yet another actor playing the chicken chain’s founder.

    The chain released an absurdist teaser for its upcoming commercial bidding goodbye to comedian Norm MacDonald, who has played the Colonel in a recent ad campaign.

    If you're more confused than ever after watching the ad, you aren't alone.

    KFC clarified to Mashable that the company will reveal the new celebrity to play Colonel Sanders in a spot set to air during the Super Bowl pregame. The new actor will be the third to play the role of KFC's founder in less than a year.

    Colonel Sanders has been featured front and center in KFC's recent marketing efforts. The chain reintroduced the Colonel to marketing last May, played by Darrell Hammond. Norm MacDonald took over the role in August.

    YUMB_00_KFC_N12_large

    In the last year, both men's versions have appeared in TV commercials and on social media. The company is even remodeling restaurants to put Colonel Sanders at the forefront.

    According to the company, the rebirth of the Colonel is working.

    "If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville Hot Chicken in New York City in January.

    The company has previously said that it doesn't mind if some customers — an estimated 20% — hate the new Colonel Sanders ads.

    "They're actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate — you cannot market to indifference,"Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed said in May.

    With Chick-fil-A's recent expansion and the broader growth of fast-casual chicken concepts, KFC is looking for a way to stand out. Currently, the chain's solution is trying to tap into customers' nostalgia for the Colonel, as played by apparently interchangeable old white guys.

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Astonishing Studios built a vending machine for KFC fried chicken made entirely of Legos. The machine is one of the many imaginative Lego creations the teenage inventor has created.

    Story and editing by Jeremy Dreyfuss

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    mutant chicken final copy 1

    KFC has won a lawsuit against three Chinese companies charged with spreading rumors that the fast-food chain uses mutated chickens with extra limbs.

    A Shanghai court has fined three tech firms, including Yingchenanzhi Success and Culture Communication, Taiyuan Zero Point Technology, and Shanxi Weilukuang Technology, for damaging KFC's reputation by posting the rumors on their social messaging accounts, Reuters reports.

    The firms have been ordered to pay KFC a combined 600,000 yuan, or $91,191. KFC was originally seeking compensation of up to 1.5 million yuan, or $245,000, from each company.

    Stories about the "mutant" chickens have been circulating for years.

    One rumor that gained traction last year claimed the federal government forced KFC to shorten its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken when it stopped using "real chickens" and started using these tube-fed "genetically modified organisms."

    The story, which cited a hoax University of New Hampshire study, was posted on the viral news site Daily Buzz Live, pumping new life into a rumor that had been circulating for more than a decade.

    "There is absolutely no truth to this ridiculous urban legend, which has been debunked many times," KFC spokesman Rick Maynard told Business Insider last year. "KFC uses only top quality poultry from trusted companies like Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride — the same brands customers know from their local supermarkets."

    Rumors about the mutant chickens have been debunked by Snopes.com, which notes that the company's 1991 name change had to do with menu pages and a desire to eliminate the word "fried," and nothing to do with governmental regulations.

    "These so-called 'chickens' are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure," according to false Daily Buzz Live story. "They have no beaks, no feathers and no feet. They grow with multiple legs and wings on one 'chicken.' Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them. This is great for KFC because it saves them money for their production costs."

    The University of New Hampshire has also repeatedly debunked the claim that they authored a study on KFC's mutant chickens. 

    "An active Internet hoax, of the urban legend type, falsely claims that KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is using genetically engineered organisms instead of chickens," according to a statement posted on the university's website. "The hoax includes reference to an unspecified study of KFC done at the University of New Hampshire and there is no such research or study that was done here."

    See also:  This is how Chicken McNuggets are made

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried all the burgers on the McDonald's 'secret menu'


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    KFC Lung

    A man who says he found a lung in his KFC chicken wing also says he won't be eating at the fast food chain anytime soon.

    Yes, you read that right! A lung. Pretty gross. 

    The Daily Mail reports Australian man Marc Nicholls was "shocked after chomping down on the grey, brain-like flesh." If you can stomach it, you can see all of the photos on The Daily Mail here.

    "It was absolutely vile," Nicholls told The Daily Mail. 

    KFC can't seem to catch a break.

    About a year ago, a man accused the fast food chain of serving him a fried rat in his meal. That story turned out to be a hoax (we debunked it here), but it's definitely not great for the brand — the misleading pics were all over Facebook for what seemed like weeks. It also inspired copycats looking for viral fame to accuse the restaurant chain of more gross crimes against fried food.

    But unlike those tall tales, this one might actually be real. Allegedly, "a spokesman for KFC said the flesh was most likely a chicken lung or kidney that was mistakenly not removed during preparation of the food." This is according to a publication called the Gold Coast Bulletin out of Australia that published the story a few hours ago at the time of this post.

    But when we called KFC's hotline we reached a friendly customer service rep who seemed very flustered at our inquiry about rogue lungs found in chicken wings. While he said he had never heard of such a thing, he directed us to the chain's media line where we were prompted to leave a message. We'll let you know if we hear back.

    For now we remain skeptical, but the pictures alone are enough to make you swear off fast food — or maybe all food — forever.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This gigantic machine clears snow from the streets in Russia


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    hot chicken kfc

    KFC has executed a remarkable turnaround in the last couple years. 

    The chain's same-store sales grew 3% in fiscal 2015, after plunging more than 15% two years earlier.

    KFC is gaining considerable momentum especially in the US, where same-store sales have increased 8% on a two-year basis. 

    Here's how KFC is winning back customers: 

    1. KFC's revival of its mascot, Colonel Sanders, is returning relevance to the brand.

    The chain hadn't used Colonel Sanders in advertising for 21 years before bringing him back in a new advertising campaign last May.

    "The brand's reinvigoration with Saturday Night Live alums playing the role of founder Colonel Sanders has brought some buzz back to the concept," Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a recent note.

    KFC executives have also said the new marketing campaign has been a success

    "If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville Hot Chicken in New York City in January.

    kfc logoComedians Norm MacDonald and Darrell Hammond are among the actors that KFC has hired to play Colonel Sanders in new TV ads. The chain is planning to release a new ad with yet another actor playing the Colonel during the Super Bowl this weekend. 

    Some customers aren't fans of the ads, but the company is just happy that people are talking about the brand again.

    "They're actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate — you cannot market to indifference,"Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in May.

    2. KFC added a popular new promotion called the $5 "Fill Up" meal. Citi Research analysts say the meal has added a major boost to the chain's momentum in the US. 

    The meals include an entree, a drink, several sides, and a dessert — all for $5.

    There are five different "Fill Up" combos featuring chicken tenders, chicken breasts, potpie, and other options.

    KFC

    "We believe the positive sales momentum is likely to continue," Citi Research analysts wrote in a research note. "Of note, $5 Fill Ups continue to resonate very well and lower gas prices remain a tailwind."

    3. The chain began renovating restaurants with a new, fancier design. 

    Here's the design the stores are getting on the outside:kfc store outside

    And here's a sample of the new interior:

    kfc inside

    SEE ALSO: KFC just proved rumors of its mutant chickens are not real

    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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    buffalo wild wings

    1. Buffalo Wild Wings reveals a new plan to take down its greatest competition

    Buffalo Wild Wings plans to drive sales this year by focusing on its drinks and desserts. It also plans to make its larger-order and group-ordering takeout menus available online. The company's marketing efforts will zero in on its takeout business.

    2. KFC made 3 drastic changes — and now the business is on fire

    KFC is gaining traction thanks to its revival of the iconic Colonel Sanders, $5 fill-up meals, and its re-designed stores. 

    3. Ralph Lauren and Kohl's shares are getting annihilated

    Both Kohl's and Ralph Lauren's shares were down double digits in morning trading on Thursday. They both reported dismal earnings.

    4. Nasty Gal is suddenly laying off 10% of its staff

    Bloomberg is reporting that the company is going to lay off 10% of its staff. The company's CEO Sheree Waterson told Bloomberg that axing these 19 employees is part of a "strategic restructuring."

    5. Generation Z is killing Gap, Abercrombie, and J. Crew

    Gen Z wants experiences, not things. This means traditional retailers, like the ailing Gap, may need to rethink the way they operate.

    6. Apple Pay is coming to Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pan

    There are now 2 million locations accepting Apple Pay, according to Bloomberg, and Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pan just got added to the list. 

    7. Ikea restaurants are getting a makeover

    According to the Washington PostIkea's US president, Lars Petersson, said that "food is becoming a core business" for the retailer. Its food division saw sales surge 8% over the past year. Now, the restaurants are getting revamped, and Ikea plans to roll out veggie and chicken versions of its iconic Swedish meatballs.

    8. Adidas has a new global ad campaign

    The athletic apparel's new global marketing campaign proudly boasts a new slogan: "I'm hear to create." Media Post notes that this is meant to offer a different perspective on athleticism.

    9. McDonald's new kale salad is worse for you than a double Big Mac

    Coming in at 730 calories, McDonald's kale salad officially has more calories than a Big Mac, according to CBC. It also has 1,400 milligrams of salt and 53 grams of fat, making it a particularly unhealthy salad.

    10. Watch Budweiser's new defensive Super Bowl ad that mocks craft beer again

    This Super Bowl, Budweiser is airing an ad that pokes fun at craft brewers, saying the beer is "not small,""not sipped," and "not a hobby." It's reminiscent of the beer brand's ad from last year, which also made fun of craft beers.

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    Jim GaffiganKFC has hired comedian Jim Gaffigan to portray its mascot, Colonel Sanders, in television ads, the company told Business Insider.

    Gaffigan replaces Norm MacDonald, who took over the role from Darrell Hammond in August 2015.

    Gaffigan will make his debut as the Colonel in an ad airing during CBS' pre-Super Bowl broadcast. The ad will air again during the second half of the game.

    KFC hadn't used Colonel Sanders in advertising for 21 years before bringing him back in a new advertising campaign last May.

    The ads have generated a mixed response from customers, with many saying they hate them.

    But analysts and company executives have credited the marketing campaign with helping to boost sales in the US.

    The chain's same-store sales grew 3% in fiscal 2015, after plunging more than 15% two years earlier.

    "The brand's reinvigoration with Saturday Night Live alums playing the role of founder Colonel Sanders has brought some buzz back to the concept," Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a recent note.

    Here's the new ad starring Gaffigan.

    KFC executives say the ads have helped bring relevance back to the brand.

    "If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville Hot Chicken in New York City in January.

    The new 30-second ad starring Gaffigan features Colonel Sanders waking from a nightmare in which Norm MacDonald has stolen the Colonel’s identity and takes credit for coming up with KFC’s new Nashville Hot Chicken, which was released earlier this year.

    A second ad starring Gaffigan will be released later this month, the company said.

    SEE ALSO: KFC made 3 drastic changes — and now the business is on fire

    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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    Wendy's

    Sales are soaring at Wendy's.

    The burger chain's same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, were up 4.8% in the fourth quarter, the company reported Tuesday, marking the best such gains in four years.

    One of the main drivers behind the chain's momentum has been its new "4 for $4" promotion, according to Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski.

    The promotion, which launched nationwide in October, includes a junior bacon cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink for $4.

    Several major fast-food chains started offering bundled meal promotions in recent months, including McDonald's ("McPick 2 for $2") and Burger King ("5 for $4").

    But Wendy's was one of the first chains to offer the bundled promotion nationwide.

    Kalinowski wrote in a recent note that Wendy's management said it "may have attained a sort of first-mover advantage by being the first national burger chain to start promoting a bundled meal at this $4 price point nationally."

    Kalinowski said Nomura's research validated the company's theory.

    "Indeed," Kalinowski wrote, "our checks indicate that subsequent offerings, such as Burger King's '5 for $4' bundled meal and Hardee's/Carl's Jr.'s '$4 Real Deal' did not adversely affect Wendy's business at all, at least during January."

    SEE ALSO: Beyoncé song sends Red Lobster's sales soaring 33%

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the new value menus at McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's — and the winner is clear


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    Starbucks frappuccino

    Many beverages from high-street coffee chains contain dangerous amounts of sugar, according to new research by the UK campaign group Action on Sugar.

    One of Starbucks' Hot Mulled Fruit drinks, for example, is crammed with 99 grams of sugar per serving, equivalent to 25 teaspoons of sugar. The Action on Sugar report says that's more than three times the maximum intake of 7 teaspoons per day. 

    The campaign body cites some alarming statistics: One in five of the UK population makes a stop at a coffee shop everyday, and the nation collectively consumes an estimated 1.7 billion cups of coffee each year (which might explain why many of us have trouble sleeping).

    If they were sold at the supermarket, over 128 of the 131 drinks (98%!) included in the report would be issued with a red label to indicate their dangerous sugar levels.

    Check out the 11 most sugar-loaded drinks you should avoid below, with the quantity of sugar visualised by the equivalent number of cans of Coke. A 12-oz can has 39 grams of sugar. 

    Starbucks Chai Tea Latte (Venti) = 1.4 cans of Coke

    A chai tea latte contains 13 teaspoons or 52 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.4 cans of Coke.

    Starbucks Chai Tea Latte

     

    Costa Mocha (Massimo) = 1.4 cans of Coke

    Costa's mocha has 13 teaspoons or 52.6 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.4 cans of Coke.

     

    Costa Mocha

     

    Costa Hot Chocolate (Massimo) = 1.5 cans of Coke

    A hot chocolate from Costa contains 14 teaspoons or 54 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.5 cans of Coke.

     

    Costa Coffee Mocha

     

    KFC Hot Chocolate with cream = 1.5 cans of Coke

    KFC's hot chocolate comes in at 14 teaspoons or 54.3 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.5 cans of Coke.

     

    KFC Hot Chocolate

     

    Costa Coffee Mocha Latte (Massimo) = 1.5 cans of Coke

    This mocha latte contains 14 teaspoons or 57.5 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.5 cans of Coke.

     

    Costa Coffee Mocha

     

    Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate (Venti) = 1.8 cans of Coke

    This hot chocolate contains 15 teaspoons or 60 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 1.8 cans of Coke.

     

    Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate

     

    Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream (Venti) = 2 cans of Coke

    There are 18 teaspoons or 73.8 grams of sugar in this mocha drink. That's equivalent to 2 cans of Coke.

     

    Starbucks White Chocolate

     

    Costa Chai Latte (Massimo) = 2.2 cans of Coke

    This latte is laced with 20 teaspoons or 79.7 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 2.2 cans of Coke.

     

    Costa Chai Latte

     

    Starbucks Hot Mulled Fruit - Apple with Chai, Dried Apple, and Cinnamon (Venti) = 2.4 cans of Coke

    There are 22 teaspoons or 88 grams of sugar in this fruity Starbucks drink. That's equivalent to 2.4 cans of Coke.

     

    Starbucks Apple with Chai

     

    Starbucks Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange, and Cinnamon (Venti) = 2.7 cans of Coke

    This tour-de-force contains 25 teaspoons or 99 grams of sugar. That's equivalent to 2.7 cans of Coke

    Starbucks Grape with Chai

    You can see the full report on Action on Sugar's website.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These guys invented a way to sled without a sled


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    kate burger

    When I told friends I was eating nothing but fast food for a week, most immediately thought of the (in)famous Morgan Spurlock documentary "Super Size Me."

    No, I would respond. I'm eating healthy.

    As fast-food chains increasingly try to appeal to health-conscious Americans, supposedly nutritious items are popping up on menus more and more.

    From KFC's grilled chicken to McDonald's (shockingly caloric) kale salad, massive restaurant chains want to signal to customers that nutrition and fast food can go hand in hand.

    If these chains want to compete with the new wave of healthier fast-casual alternatives, they're going to have to prove they can become daily go-tos for nutrition-savvy millennials.

    So I decided to see for myself how the chains, and my stomach, held up after a week of eating only at fast-food restaurants.

    My first and most important rule was that I could eat only at fast-food chains. (I would consume at least three meals a day.)

    That means no health-food-obsessed fast casuals like Sweetgreen or Chipotle. It's all about chains best known for burgers, fries, and fried chicken 24/7. (The one exception: I could drink alcohol.)

    My secondary rule: I must try and eat as healthy as possible at these fast-food restaurants. My definition of health was pretty general. My meals should to add up to less than the FDA's daily recommended limit in calories, fat, and sodium, while providing me with enough protein to fill me up.

    The challenge would last for one work week, from Monday to Friday.



    I started off the week at a familiar breakfast destination: Dunkin' Donuts.

    There's one obvious "healthy" option on the menu: the Egg White Flatbread, which has been recommended as one of the 11 healthiest fast-food breakfast items around. It's a little high in sodium (610 grams) but also high in protein (15 grams).

    If you eat the flatbread while it's hot, it's actually tasty and pretty hearty. However, the longer you wait, the more disturbing the congealed egg white and cheese appear. I pair the flatbread with a coffee and head to work.



    Lunch at Wendy's revealed just how gross grilled chicken could get.

    After finding a reasonably healthy breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, I was optimistic about what Wendy's would serve up for lunch. I'm generally a fan of the chain, and the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad fit all my qualifications (again, high sodium but low calorie and otherwise healthy), so I ordered it with high hopes.

    These hopes were not met.

    First, let me say the salad was not without its merits. The fire-roasted edamame was delicious. The dressing was nice. The cashews were spicy. But the grilled chicken was irredeemable.

    At first, I ignored the floppy texture of the chicken. However, the more of the meat I ate, the more alien it seemed. It wasn't the taste — it was the strange consistency that seems unique to some fast-food chicken used to top salads.

    I didn't finish the dish.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hot chicken kfcKFC is desperate to reach millennials. However, the chicken chain’s traditional methods aren’t working.

    “Young people are growing up with distrust in institutions, distrust in big brands,” Kevin Hochman, KFC’s chief marketing officer, told the Associated Press. “It makes it very difficult to sell in conventional ways that might have worked for my generation or my parents' generation.”

    Hochman says that KFC data indicates that only two out of five millennials have even tried KFC.

    The company’s solution has been to majorly invest in marketing starring Colonel Sanders.

    “We're bringing back that over-the-top chicken salesman because millennials understand the joke,” Hochman told the Associated Press. “They get that we're running toward the idea of over-the-top selling.”

    kfc logo

    Hochman calls the process of returning to KFC’s Sanders-centric roots “re-Colonelization.” In addition to a marketing campaign starring Colonel Sanders, the brand is additionally working to freshen up to the food to the Colonel’s standards.

    The food revamp may be a change that Sanders would respect. After he sold KFC, Sanders was known for saying that the company had changed his original recipes and begun serving food that wasn’t fit to serve his dogs.

    About one in five customers reported that they hated the new Sanders advertising campaign when it launched last year. However, the chain’s same-store sales grew 3% in fiscal 2015, after dropping more than 15% two years earlier — a growth that company executives and analysts credit to the return of the Colonel.

    SEE ALSO: KFC customers hate the new Colonel, and the CEO says that's a good thing

    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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    kate burgerEating nothing but fast-food for five days straight forced me to come to terms with which chains are actually healthy — and what restaurants nutrition-savvy customers should avoid.

    As fast-food chains try to compete with more nutrition-centric fast casuals, there is increasing pressure to add healthy options to the menu.

    From KFC's grilled chicken to McDonald's (shockingly caloric) kale salad, massive restaurant chains want to signal to customers that nutrition and fast food can go hand in hand.

    After my 100% fast-food diet, I came to the startling conclusion that these companies aren’t wrong — fast-food chains can sell healthy food. The issue is that at many chains, these "healthy" options are not filling, insufficiently nutritious, or simply just gross.

    Here’s my personal ranking of where it is easiest to eat healthy, from the worst to the best:

    7. KFC

    First things first: KFC shot itself in the foot when the chain served me fried chicken instead of the grilled chicken that I ordered.

    kfc bad food

    Still, even if I had received my grilled chicken, KFC’s dedication to forcing unhealthy sides on customers puts it low on the healthy scale. When ordering a combo meal, I was unable to swap out the mashed potato, biscuit, and a cookie with healthier options, like corn on the cob. Additionally, while there are some healthier sides, the one I tried — green beans — was disgusting. 

    6. Wendy’s

    Wendy’s failed nutritionally on two fronts.

    Wendy's salad

    First, the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad that I ordered was completely ruined by its subpar chicken topping. Second, I only chose that particular salad because many of Wendy’s other "healthy" options are stuffed with calories and fat. The Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, for example, contains 790 calories and 51 grams of fat.

    With such a major misstep in one of the few healthy options on the menu, I'm not planning on returning to Wendy’s expecting a nutritious meal.

    5. Burger King

    Burger King’s biggest problem is a familiar one for fast-food chains: a lack of options, especially when it comes to sides.

    bk dinner 2

    My solution was simply to eat less — two halves of two hot dogs, plus a side salad. Moderation is the easiest way to eat healthy at most chains. Instead of ordering unsatisfying "nutritious" options, I found it is often better just to order what you actually want, then skip unnecessary sides or split the meal with someone else.  

    4. McDonald’s

    The most notorious fast-food brand around is better than any of its burger-and-fries-centric counterparts when it comes to nutrition.

    To be fair, the competition wasn’t that stiff.

    mcmuffin

    Still, McDonald’s has succeeded in providing a variety of healthy side options, including salads, apple slices, and clementines. Many of its classics, like the McMuffin or even a basic hamburger, aren’t particularly high in calories, fat, or sugar if you skip sides and add-ons. If you study the menu at McDonald’s and avoid super-sizing your meals, eating at the fast-food giant does not have to kill your diet plan.

    3. Subway

    I’ll admit it: Subway is a chain where my personal biases trump the cold, hard facts.

    Logically, I realize that Subway is a chain with many healthy options (including sides). If you chose your bread wisely and skip mayonnaise and other dressings, it’s easy to put together a filling, nutritious meal. There is a reason there was an entire diet program built around the chain.

    Subway

    But… Subway always leaves me wanting more. The breakfast options just aren’t great. I get bizarrely stressed out while ordering. The distinct smell of most Subway locations makes me cringe. For these entirely illogical reasons, Subway is just No. 3.

    2. Taco Bell

    I entered the week suspicious of Taco Bell’s ability to produce any healthy options. I finished the week thoroughly impressed.

    The element of surprise certainly helped propel Taco Bell to No. 2. However, the chain has three secret weapons.

    Taco Bell burrito

    One: the "Fresco" menu which replaces cheese, rice, and sour cream with pico de gallo. Two: a fully customizable online ordering feature. Three: a customizable nutrition calculator that lets you see which ingredients are contributing the calories, fat, and sodium to any meal.

    The chain’s biggest downfalls are a lack of healthy sides and the insane amount of sodium in most items.

    1. Chick-fil-A

    At the end of my week of fast food, there was no question in my mind about what chain would win in a battle of healthy fast-food chains.

    chick fil a food

    Chick-fil-A has recently been promoting a number of healthy offerings, which helped inspire my fast-food diet. However, promoting nutrition is one thing — serving up healthy food that actually tastes good is another matter entirely.

    Eating Chick-fil-A’s grilled nuggets and the kale-based "Superfood Side" was the first time all week I enjoyed what I was eating, while also feeling like the meal was healthy and filling. The Asian Salad and Chick-fil-A Minis were equally delicious.

    Every item I ordered at Chick-fil-A is something I would order again — the biggest compliment I can give to a fast-food chain trying to craft a healthy menu. For that reason, the chicken chain easily beats out the competition when it comes to nutrition. 

    SEE ALSO: I consumed nothing but fast food for a week, and it was the easiest and cheapest diet plan I've ever tried

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried Taco Bell’s new Quesalupa


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    popeyes chicken waffle tendersAs American and international appetites for chicken heat up, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is on a roll.

    On Tuesday, the chicken chain announced plans to increase its global restaurant count to 4,000 from 2,500 in the next seven to 10 years. This comes after the chain opened a record-setting 219 new restaurants in 2015.

    But CEO Cheryl Bachelder says that as the chain expands in the US and abroad, the company's biggest competitors are not KFC and Chick-fil-A, two other quickly growing chicken chains.

    "A lot of people might think Popeyes' biggest competitor might be another chicken QSR chain,"Bachelder told Business Insider, using an abbreviation for fast-food restaurants, "but actually our customers more often are in the large burger chains. They've chosen — their favorite chicken is Popeyes, and their alternative is a burger chain."

    KFC vs Popeye's 1

    Bachelder said persuading customers to pick Popeyes chicken over that of competitors wasn't a major concern.

    "At Popeyes we don't use the word loyal — we use zealot," Bachelder said. "You become a Popeyes zealot as soon as you experience Popeyes food."

    Popeye's Ad: Chicken Waffle Tenders

    In addition to the plans to open 1,500 new locations, Popeyes announced this week that it planned to grow domestic average unit volumes to $2 million from about $1.4 million, increasing franchisee profitability.

    These goals were announced as the chain reported that global sales at restaurants open at least a year, or same-store sales, increased 5.9% in 2015, with net income for the year reaching $44.1 million.

    Looking ahead, the company says it plans to invest $2 million this year in funding more location visits and coaching, as well as new technology. Bachelder says Popeyes' three strategic pillars will continue to be its passionate teams of employees, routine excellence, and Louisiana heritage.

    "I think of us as the exporter of Louisiana food, both in the United States and around the world," Bachelder said, "because if you haven't tasted these incredible flavors, you just haven't lived yet."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried Shake Shack’s new Chick-fil-A killer


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    kfc gravyA woman claims that she was hired, then quickly fired, from a KFC in Richmond, Virginia for her gender identity, reports local news station WRIC.

    Georgia Carter says just an hour after she was offered a position at KFC, her manager rescinded the job offer when he realized her driver’s license indicated Carter was male.

    According to Carter, the manager claimed that KFC could not hire her because "we don’t know which bathroom you can use."

    In a statement to Business Insider, KFC said that upon learning of the allegation, the franchisee who owns the Richmond restaurant conducted an "immediate and thorough investigation."

    KFC's statement continues: 

    The manager has been terminated for violating the franchisee’s anti-discrimination policy, which is inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation. The franchisee’s leadership has also had a conversation with Ms. Carter, offering her employment at this restaurant or any of their Richmond area KFC restaurants, effective immediately. Additionally, the franchisee is emphasizing sensitivity and compliance with their policies to keep this from happening again.

    A customer walks out of a KFC restaurant in Shanghai, China, October 9, 2015.  REUTERS Aly Song

    More than one in four transgender individuals have lost a job due to bias, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Fifty percent reported being harassed on the job.

    Currently, there is no federal law banning workplace discrimination against transgender employees, though in 2012 it was determined that federal sex discrimination law Title VII protects transgender workers. A number of states have protections against workplace discrimination against transgender people; Virginia is not one of them.

    Instead, the state is considering a law that would require public facilities to designate restrooms for use "by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An Iraq War veteran who works at KFC nails the minimum wage debate


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    big mac mcdonalds mealThis UK town is banning customers under 18 years of age from fast-food favorites.

    Some McDonald’s and KFC locations have instated a ban on teenagers after a fight broke out between teenagers in Stoke-on-Trent, reports the BBC.

    Eight people were arrested following the brawl, with armed police and a helicopter intervening after reports of a fight and gunshots.

    Both McDonald’s and KFC told the BBC that the ban was in response to recent issues and would not affect locations in other parts of the UK or the world.

    According to locals, teens tend to congregate after school at the town’s McDonald’s and KFC, drawn by the cheap food and central location. Police report that the teenagers would buy one drink to split between them so they can use the free Wi-Fi.  

    nolan conway mcdonalds

    This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s free Wi-Fi has lead to some unexpected consequences.

    In 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that many students relied on McDonald’s for internet access, as the chain’s 12,000 Wi-Fi-enabled locations are often more accessible than the roughly 15,000 Wi-Fi-enabled public libraries in the US.

    While reporting on protests surrounding police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, a number of reporters used McDonald’s as a home base and staging area due to the location’s Wi-Fi and outlets.

    McDonald’s began rolling out free Wi-Fi to locations back in 2009.

    The service has clearly subtly changed the company’s business in the last seven years, whether that be by helping teens study or providing them a venue for less productive behaviors.  

    SEE ALSO: This 20-year-old ate at In-N-Out for 30 days straight — and the hardest part wasn’t all the burgers

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    NOW WATCH: We did a blind taste test of popular french fries — the winner was clear


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    david alan grier

    KFC is doubling down on Colonel Sanders, potentially casting a black man to play the chicken chain's founder.

    Comedian David Alan Grier announced on Twitter that he had been cast as the first African-American Colonel Sanders, following in the footsteps of previous colonels Norm MacDonald and Darrell Hammond.

    "We are very excited to learn that Mr. Grier is such a big fan of KFC and The Colonel," Kevin Hochman, KFC's CMO, said in an email to Business Insider. "We're a big fan of him as well. We hope to continue the conversation with him over a $5 Fill Up."

    The brand's Twitter account additionally responded to Grier's tweet: 

     On Super Bowl Sunday, the chicken chain released a commercial bidding goodbye to MacDonald and introducing comedian Jim Gaffigan as the new Colonel. 

    Colonel Sanders has been featured front and center in KFC's recent marketing efforts. The chain reintroduced the Colonel, played by Hammond, to marketing last May. MacDonald took over the role in August.

    Jim Gaffigan

    In the past year, both versions have appeared in TV commercials and on social media. The company is even remodeling restaurants to put Colonel Sanders at the forefront.

    According to the company, the rebirth of the Colonel is working.

    KFC

    "If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville hot chicken in New York City in January.

    The company has previously said it doesn't mind if some customers — an estimated 20% — hate the new Colonel Sanders ads.

    "They're actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate — you cannot market to indifference,"Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in May.

    Casting a black comedian as a fast-food icon who has been dogged by (unproven) rumors that he was a racist for years is a bold choice for the chicken chain. But it sticks to KFC’s recent dedication to marketing decisions that may polarize customers. At KFC, it may be more important that people are talking about Colonel Sanders than what exactly they are saying.

    This article has been updated with a statement from KFC. 

    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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    kfc norm macdonaldAre you a middle-aged comedian with a recognizable name who needs to make a little extra cash? KFC has a gig for you.

    On Wednesday, comedian David Alan Grier announced on Twitter that he had been cast as the first African-American Colonel Sanders. The only issue — it wasn’t clear if the announcement had been cleared by KFC corporate.

     "We are very excited to learn that Mr. Grier is such a big fan of KFC and The Colonel," Kevin Hochman, KFC's CMO, said in an email to Business Insider. "We're a big fan of him as well. We hope to continue the conversation with him over a $5 Fill Up."

    Whether Grier’s tweets actually started the conversation or if KFC already had plans to team up with the comedian, the "In Living Color" star fits the brand’s established formula for casting their colonel.

    david alan grier

    In the last year, KFC has hired three Colonels: Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, and Jim Gaffigan.

    While Grier would be the first black Colonel Sanders, he has a lot in common with the colonels who came before him. Here are four key attributes they share:

    Baby-boomer dude

    The prior colonels are all born between 1966 (Gaffigan, the youngest at 49) and 1955 (Hammond, the oldest at 60). Grier perfectly fits the pattern at 60 years old.

    Jim Gaffigan

    He, like the colonels who came before him, is also a man. There’s an opportunity for race-blind casting, but KFC hasn’t given any indication it’s going gender-blind… yet.

    Comedian with a sketch comedy background

    KFC made the reasonable move to hire people known for funny imitations to imitate its founder in comedic commercials.

    Hammond and Macdonald are best known for their work at "Saturday Night Live"— a show that Grier hosted an episode of in 1995, when both Hammond and Macdonald were part of the cast.

    Gaffigan is less known for his imitations and better known for his stand-up, but did act in short-lived VH1 sketch show "Random Play" in 1999.

    david alan grier in living color

    Grier certainly has the necessary sketch experience, as he played a wide array of characters on sketch comedy series "In Living Color" in the early ‘90s.

    Recognizable name…

    With more than twenty years of experience in the industry, every one of the Colonels is well-known enough to ping a vague sense of recognition from even casual viewers.

    norm macdonald

    Each name is prominent enough to make their hiring newsworthy, in a way an unknown comedian may not be.

    Grier is the same — the comedian’s more than 74,000 Twitter followers were key to spreading the news that he had apparently been hired by KFC.

    But not quite a star.

    Sorry, guys.

    Other than perhaps Gaffigan, who currently stars in a show he created on TV Land, these comedians are far from the A-List. Hammond’s most recent film role was "Scary Movie 5" in 2013, while Macdonald is currently providing the voice of a pigeon for the animated TV series "Mike Tyson Mysteries."

    Darrell Hammond

    Grier has a similar mix of glamorous and less-than-glamorous roles. In 2009, he participated in "Dancing with the Stars." More recently, he played the Cowardly Lion on "The Wiz Live!", and is part of the cast on "The Carmichael Show."

    They also share a few other strange commonalities.

    • Except Hammond, who is from Florida, all the Colonels are northerners (Macdonald is actually from Canada). So much for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
    • Both Gaffigan and Grier have experience with food writing — a fitting prerequisite to play the founder of KFC. Gaffigan has published ‘Food: A Love Story’ in 2014, and Grier wrote food blog from 2010 to 2015.
    • All of them have appeared in a "Law & Order" episode, except Macdonald. Grier appears on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2010. Hammond appeared in both "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," while Gaffigan has appeared in a number of episodes and franchises. If it’s good enough for "Law & Order," it should be good enough for KFC.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the new extra long, buttery cheeseburger from Burger King


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    Target groceries grocery store

    1. Wendy's openly hates on McDonald's and Burger King with bizarre new website

    Wendy's is going after rivals like McDonald's and Burger King for using frozen beef patties in their hamburgers. The fast-food chain has launched a new website featuring bizarre ads for "freezy diskz," or frozen burger patties, saying they can be used as drink coasters, ice, or as wedges to level a table. 

    2. Target is going to make a major department unrecognizable

    Target is now focusing on a total reconstruction of the food department. The company is cutting back on middle-aisle dry packaged goods, while adding more fresh produce and organic and gluten-free products, Target CEO Brian Cornell said at a meeting Wednesday.

    3. Morgan Stanley is concerned with Under Armour's business

    Morgan Stanley's analysts are becoming concerned about the state of Under Armour's business and believe that the company will report apparel sales that are flat or negative. Areas of concern include women turning away from the brand, shoes selling at discount, and outlets taking over business. 

    4. Target executive reveals how the company is dominating in the most important category

    Target plans to spend as much as $2.5 billion a year on technology and supply chain initiatives by 2017, up from the $1.9 billion spent last year. The biggest focus: making it more convenient for customers to shop at Target in stores, online, and on their smartphones.

    5. Costco is raising its minimum wage

    Costco will start paying $13 to $13.50 per hour, up from $11.50 to $12. The retailer is essentially compelled to do this because workers have the growing option to move to companies that pay better.

    6. KFC might have a new Colonel Sanders — and the CEO doesn't care if customers hate him

    Casting a black comedian as a fast-food icon who has been dogged by (unproven) rumors that he was a racist for years is a bold choice for the chicken chain. But it sticks to KFC’s recent dedication to marketing decisions that may polarize customers.

    7. Offering free Wi-Fi leads to unexpected consequences at KFC and McDonald’s

    A town in the UK is banning customers under 18 years of age from fast-food favorites. Police report that the teenagers would buy one drink to split between them so they can use the free Wi-Fi.  

    8. Hampton Creek is moving beyond mayo

    Hampton Creek, known for its egg-free mayo, will soon release products such as brownie mix, pancakes, and salad dressing to retailers such as Walmart and Target, reports Fortune

    9. McDonald’s has a new Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry it won’t sell in the US — here’s how to make it

    McDonald's unveiled a new Cadbury Creme Egg flavor of McFlurry but it's not available in the US. Americans are expressing their jealousy and anger on Twitter, but it's actually pretty easy to make at home.

    10. This calculator will tell you how many hours of activity you need to work off fast-food meals

    HomeRemedyShop.com, a US based health website, developed a fast food calculator that will tell what you need to do to work off that Chipotle burrito. 

    FOLLOW US: On Twitter

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    kfc

    I hate Colonel Sanders. More than that, I hate KFC’s newfound obsession with its founder.

    On Wednesday, the brand released yet another commercial starring Colonel Sanders. The ad highlights KFC’s limited-time offer of Nashville Hot Chicken (which I like) and the rotating cast of Colonels (which I despise).

    The company’s Colonel Sanders kick started last May, when KFC launched its first ad featuring Colonel Sanders after a 21-year hiatus.

    The commercial stars comedian Darrell Hammond, cackling as he wheezes, “I’m Colonel Sanders, and I’m back America!”

    I hated it. First, I found it eerie for a brand to resurrect its dead founder, who acted as the spokesperson for KFC for many years. Second, I found Hammond’s portrayal of the Colonel grating, with his kitschy, old-school Southern affectations.

    However, I thought that, like many fast-food marketing pushes, this annoyance would be a limited-time offering.

    If only I knew then how wrong I was.

    "So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it," Greg Creed, the CEO of KFC parent company Yum! Brands said at a conference in late May. "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."

    So, thanks in part to my and others’ hatred for the new commercial, KFC decided to go all in on Colonel Sanders.

    KFC

    KFC replaced Hammond with fellow-Saturday Night alum Norm Macdonald in August, and replaced Macdonald with comedian Jim Gaffigan in February. For the last year, versions of the Colonel have dominated TV commercials and social media. KFC is even created a comic book starring Sanders, and is currently remodeling restaurants to put Colonel Sanders at the forefront.

    As the Colonel’s presence grew, my anti-Sanders feelings also blossomed. Today, my grievances against the Colonel are two-fold, opposing both the portrayal of the founder and the man himself.

    KFC has been eager to celebrate some of the cheesier aspects of the Colonel’s identity, with a website that explores aspects of Sanders’ life. Highlights include Sanders dropping out of school in sixth grade, taking a steamboat ferry operator gig, and shooting a business competitor.

    colonel sanders kfc

    However, portraying the Colonel as a quirky, old-school mascot means glossing over some of the more complex aspects of his character.

    Sanders was notoriously licentious in a way that would not be tolerated from most modern spokespeople. He was known for cheating on his first wife, with his second wife’s nephew saying he"found what he needed to find in other places,” according to 'Colonel Sanders and the American Dream.' A 1970 'New Yorker' article quotes him observing a crowd of housewives saying: “Umm, that gal’s let herself go… Look at the size of that one… I don’t know when I’ve seen so many fat ones… Lord, look at 'em waddle."

    Also ignored in KFC’s portrayal of the Colonel is Sanders’ beef with KFC. The Colonel once tried to sue KFC for $122 million after he sold the chicken concept. The lawsuit was sparked by KFC’s refusal to allow Sanders to open an antebellum-themed restaurant selling Original Recipe Chicken.

    colonel sanders

    The case was settled out of court for $1 million, and a promise that the Colonel would stop embarrassing the company — a promise that he did not keep. Till the end of his life, he complained that KFC had moved away from his recipes, telling the New Yorker that the company’s new gravy recipe “aint’ fit for my dogs.”

    Knowing that Harland Sanders was a probable sexist who had a complicated relationship with the brand that uses him to sell chicken made it even easier to dislike Colonel-centric marketing. Yet, I still believe I could have forgiven that if the Colonel was portrayed differently.

    KFC’s constantly-changing Colonel cast is basically interchangeable, in part because the brand uses such an exact formula: white, middle-aged comedian with a semi-recognizable name.

    kfc logo

    I inwardly cheered when David Alan Grier hinted he may be the next Colonel, just for a slight variation — even though he completely fits the formula, except for his race. He even appeared on 'Saturday Night Live' at the same time as Macdonald and Hammond!

    The three comedians all do a similar, over-the-top imitations of a crazed Southern chef. However, if anything, the ads have gotten worse over time.

    Hammond’s Colonel had an annoying chuckle, but Macdonald’s bizarre, semi-manic Colonel is baffling and Gaffigan’s overly enthusiastic Colonel is exhausting. When I watch KFC’s commercials starring the Colonel, I’m left either confused or furious that my time has been wasted.

    KFC

    The worst part is that the Colonel Sanders strategy seems to be working, so I won’t get a respite from the Colonel any time soon.

    KFC sales increased 7% in 2015, with a 3% growth in same-store sales.

    "If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville hot chicken in New York City in January.

    So, it looks like Sanders is sticking around. Ultimately, I only have myself to blame. As the Yum! Brands CEO said back in 2015, the brand would rather have customers hate the Colonel than feel neutral — and I certainly am bringing the hate.

    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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    KFC popcorn chickenAfter three years of eating nothing but KFC, this 21-year-old decided it was time to get help.

    From a young age, Georgie Scotney has suffered from Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), according to Metro. While Metro reports the illness as Restrictive Eating Disorder, America's foremost psychiatric manual has since renamed the illness in an attempt to more accurately describe it.

    People with ARFID may appear disinterested in food, or they might avoid certain foods based on their texture or appearance. Most importantly, though, people with ARFID have a "persistent failure to meet appropriate nutritional and/or energy needs,"according to the manual, known as the DSM-V.

    Growing up, Scotney would reportedly only eat fried chicken and fries. As time went on, she became more specific in what she would eat, and for the last three years she's only eaten toast and some specific items from KFC's menu. 

    Nearly every day, Scotley says she would order KFC boneless chicken strips or popcorn chicken and fries for lunch. She’d skip dinner, and occasionally eat some toast for breakfast.  

    kfc fried chicken

    Scotney decided it was time to seek professional help when planning a trip with her boyfriend, and realizing she may not be able to find any KFC locations while traveling. A hypnotherapy session reportedly resulted in what Scotney calls an "instant" change.

    Hypnotherapy is a way to put patients in a state of heightened focus and concentration, allowing them to relax and become more open to suggestions.

    Despite ongoing misconceptions and some mixed results, hypnotherapy has become a tool in treating a wide range of ailments, from cancer to irritable bowel syndrome. The practice been utilized as a treatment for some eating disorders, though it is widely seen as best used as part of a multi-pronged treatment plan instead of as a sole tactic. 

    However, Scotney says she's pleased with the results of her single hypnotherapy session thus far. 

    "Never in my life had I eaten any fruit or veg and I’ve even managed to try a roast dinner now," she told Metro. "I can’t believe that I missed out on so much."

    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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