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The latest news on KFC from Business Insider
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    Chipotle Test Kitchen 9

    • Chipotle and Yum Brands are undervalued, according to a Bernstein analyst.
    • Using a not-so-common valuation metric that measures the enterprise value of a company against its projected growth, Bernstein found that Chipotle and Yum Brands were attractive bargains.
    • Watch Chipotle's and Yum Brands' stock prices move in real time. 

    While investors are eager to see turnarounds at Chipotle and Yum Brands, a Bernstein analyst believes they have overlooked the two brands as investment opportunities.

    Using an alternate way of valuing their stocks, both Chipotle and Yum Brands are "somewhat undervalued," Bernstein Analyst Sara Senatore wrote in a note to clients. 

    Most market watchers use an earnings multiple to evaluate a company's value. Senatore looked at the enterprise value — which adds the market value of its common stock, preferred equity, debt, and minority interest minus its cash and investments — coupled with the companies' forecasted growth to determine a "line of best fit" for businesses in the fast-food and casual dining industries. Those below the line are considered bargains while those above are potentially overpriced.

    According to this metric, Chipotle and Yum Brands have room to grow.

    "Our outperform ratings on YUM and CMG are consistent with our valuation work; both sit below the line of best fit for the industry, suggesting the stocks are somewhat undervalued (on EV/IC) relative to their fundamental outlooks," Senatore said.

    Wall Street has been optimistic over Chipotle's soon-to-be CEO Brian Niccol, who the food chain tapped from Taco Bell. Chipotle has dealt with a series of challenges to reverse its bad image after multiple cases of customers falling ill and failed attempts to introduce new items on the menu that would resonate with consumers, such as its queso. 

    With Yum Brands, "expectations have been reset," Senatore said. The company reported revenue and same-store sales in the fourth quarter that had fallen short of Wall Street's expectations, particularly on weaker demand from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Investors are looking forward to a turnaround at Pizza Hut, she said.

    Senatore gave Chipotle a price target of $500 per share, which was 56% above its current share price. The price target for Yum Brands was $92, which was 12% above its current price.

    Chipotle's stock was trading at $318.18 per share, and was up 8.68% for the year. Yum Brands was trading at $81.39 per share, and was down 0.27% for the year.

    Read more about why investors are happy with Chipotle's new CEO choice.

    Chipotle stock price

    Yum Brands stock price

    SEE ALSO: Chipotle has added nearly $2 billion in value since announcing a new CEO

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Taco Bell Value Menu

    • KFC and Taco Bell are rolling out delivery across the US. 
    • Yum Brands, the chains' parent company, announced a delivery partnership with Grubhub and a $200 million deal with the company on Thursday. 
    • Fast-food customers are increasingly demanding delivery, with McDonald's aggressively pursuing the $100 billion market through a partnership with UberEats. 

     

    Soon, people across the US will be able to have KFC and Taco Bell delivered to their doorstep.

    On Thursday, Yum Brands — the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut — announced it had entered into a partnership with delivery company Grubhub. 

    The chains' franchisees will work with Grubhub to roll out online ordering for pickup and delivery in thousands of locations in the coming months. Currently, just a handful of KFC locations are testing delivery. Roughly 1,500 Taco Bell locations already deliver food. 

    In a call with investors, Yum Brands said that, by the end of the year, Grubhub's delivery network will cover roughly 80% of KFC and Taco Bell restaurants that would deliver. 

    As part of the deal, Yum Brands has agreed to purchase $200 million of common stock in Grubhub. The $200 million will be used to accelerate the expansion of Grubhub's delivery network and drive orders to KFC and Taco Bell. 

    Delivery has become a major focus in the fast-food industry in recent years.

    McDonald's has rolled out delivery to roughly 5,000 locations in the US through a partnership with UberEats, in an attempt to get in on what the fast-food company has called the $100 billion delivery market. In a call with investors in January, McDonald's said that delivery was the biggest contributor to comparable sale growth in major markets in the fourth quarter. 

    McDonald's Taco Bell Value Menu Dollar Menu

    "People are so used to living their lives with one click of a button," McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who has led the chain's aggressive drive into delivery, said in April 2017. 

    As a result, fast-food customers increasingly expect delivery. Last year, Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider that it was customers' top demand. 

    "We still haven't figured out how to do it," Niccol said at the time. 

    Past tests from Taco Bell include a partnership with Lyft to take passengers through the drive-thru, as well as a partnership with DoorDash.

    "The third party folks, the aggregators — they're just not fast enough," Niccol said.

    Yum Brands' partnership with Grubhub seems to be trying to solve some of these issues by getting fast-food leadership more involved in the delivery company. According to a press release from the companies, the two chains will work together on joint marketing initiatives, and Grubhub will add Pizza Hut US President Artie Starrs to its board of directors. 

    SEE ALSO: TACO BELL CEO: We could probably fulfill customers' No. 1 demand right now — here's why we aren't going to

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Tabasco sauce is made


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    UberEATS delivery boy

    • On Thursday, KFC and Taco Bell announced plans to roll out delivery at thousands of restaurants through a partnership with Grubhub. 
    • McDonald's rolled out delivery with UberEATS at 5,000 locations in the US in 2017, and says that the service is driving sales.
    • McDonald's still has the upper hand — but with the Grubhub deal, KFC and Taco Bell have a major opportunity to enter the fast-food deliver war. 

     

    Fast-food delivery battles are heating up. 

    On Thursday, Yum Brands — the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut — announced it had entered into a partnership with delivery company Grubhub. With the deal, KFC and Taco Bell will roll out delivery at thousands of locations across the US in 2018. 

    McDonald's made a major delivery push in 2017, going from a handful of locations testing delivery to roughly 5,000 locations delivering orders via UberEATS. 

    Here's how the two fast-food giants delivery strategies measure up. 

    McDonald's is modernizing — and has a huge advantage on speed

    McDonald's Value Menu

    McDonald's delivery drive is part of CEO Steve Easterbrook's' more general efforts to modernize the brand, with initiatives such as adding kiosks to stores and rolling out mobile orderings. 

    "People are so used to living their lives with one click of a button," Easterbrook told Business Insider on the topic of delivery in April 2017. 

    By partnering with UberEATS, McDonald's gained access to a sleek, super-modern delivery interface. According to the company, customers tend to spend more and shop at different times — such as late at night — than when they visit stores.

    While originally there was skepticism over if customers would be willing to pay the delivery fee required by UberEATS, McDonald's say that it has been impressed by demand. In a call with investors in January, McDonald's said that delivery was the biggest contributor to comparable sale growth in several major markets in the fourth quarter.

    McDonald's biggest advantage when it comes to delivery is its size. Because the chain has more than 14,000 locations in the US, most customers are relatively near a McDonald's — meaning shorter delivery times, allowing food to arrive still warm. 

    "If you were to go on to UberEATS in many of the markets now, we'll be one of the early recommended restaurants, just because the operation that we run now we can actually get from order to delivery in under 30 minutes," CFO Kevin Ozan said in January. The speedy delivery "pretty much everywhere we are which puts us right at the head of the pack in terms of the convenience that we offer customers." 

    Taco Bell has been trying everything, while KFC plays catch up 

    Taco Bell Value Menu

    Roughly 1,500 Taco Bell locations already offer delivery, Yum Brands said in a call with investors on Wednesday. Even prior to the Grubhub deal, the chain has been experimenting with how best to get tacos into customers hands, without having them leave the house. 

    Last year, Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider that delivery was customers' top demand. 

    "We still haven't figured out how to do it," according to Niccol, who said at the time Taco Bell was exploring in-house delivery options. 

    "Could we probably just go do it? Sure. But it would just be OK," Niccol said. "OK usually ends up in a slow death. You buy a shirt, and you're like, eh, it's OK. But slowly and surely it moves to the back of your closet with the tag still on it. And it never makes it out of the closet because you're like, eh, it's OK." 

    While Niccol said that Taco Bell had found third-party delivery services weren't fast enough, the chain has experimented with various third-parties, including an ongoing partnership with DoorDash.

    Perhaps the most out-of-the-box solution was "Taco Mode" — a feature Taco Bell tested last year that allowed Lyft passengers to push a button to have their driver take them to a Taco Bell drive-thru between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. 

    KFC, meanwhile, is playing catchup. The chicken chain has only recently started testing delivery in a select number of markets. 

    The Grubhub deal proves KFC and Taco Bell finally getting serious about delivery

    KFC Smoky Mountain BBQ Chicken

    Taco Bell and KFC franchisees are still working with Grubhub on what exactly will be delivered and how deliveries will be executed, so keep an eye out for the chains to start popping up on Grubhub and Seamless in the coming months. 

    Both KFC and Taco Bell also have the advantage of being sister brands with a chain with serious delivery experience — Pizza Hut.

    The pizza chain has been developing delivery tech over the last decade, with digital sales making up roughly half of all orders. As part of the partnership announced on Thursday, Grubhub will add Pizza Hut US President Artie Starrs to its board of directors. 

    The Grubhub deal — which includes Yum Brands agreeing to buy $200 million of common stock in the delivery company — represents a more overarching strategy for Taco Bell. Further, it proves KFC is ready to get serious about delivery.

    As rivals like McDonald's ramp up their own efforts to take over the $100 billion delivery business, it's about time that the chains made an investment in figuring out how to deliver fast food. 

    SEE ALSO: KFC and Taco Bell are rolling out delivery with a $200 million deal — and McDonald's should be terrified

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    kfc uk closed

    • About 80% of Britain's KFC locations are closed because of a lack of chicken.
    • New distributors working for KFC have been unable to get sufficient chicken to 750 restaurants across the UK.
    • KFC has promised that "the Colonel is working on it"— but there is no indication of when the stores will reopen.


    Seven hundred and fifty KFC outlets across the UK have been closed after a change in food distributors led to a chicken shortage for the company.

    More than 80% of all KFCs in Britain have been forced to close because the delivery company that recently took over the job of getting chickens to each restaurant has been unable to deliver.

    KFC swapped deliverers from Bidvest Group to DHL last week, causing what the fried-chicken empire called "teething problems." It has since set up a website where people can find their nearest open outlet, and it promised that "the Colonel is working on it."

    The number of KFCs that shut down because of the crisis came from GMB, a trade union whose members worked for the Bidvest Group. KFC declined to give Business Insider a figure.

    KFC wrote on Saturday: "The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants.

    "We won't compromise on quality, so no deliveries has meant some of our restaurants are closed, and others are operating a limited menu, or shortened hours."

    The GMB says DHL is "not geared up" to deliver chicken around the country.

    DHL has one distribution depot, while Bidvest had multiple ones around the country, GMB's national officer Mick Rix told Business Insider.

    Rix added: "What that means is all the orders from across the UK are going to one site, and DHL's systems are not geared up to handling hundreds of orders for the UK."

    DHL's distribution center for KFC is in Rugby, a town in central England. As shown in the map below, KFC operates outlets across the country as far as Elgin in Scotland and Penzance in southern England.

    Rugby is some 370 miles from Elgin and 250 miles from Penzance.

    KFC and DHL depot

    KFC operates 900 outlets in the UK, meaning 750 closings would account for 80% of its stores.

    It's unclear when the delivery problems will be rectified, KFC told the BBC.

    Rix added in a statement on Monday night: "We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences — well now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    "Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late."

    Rix added that 255 GMB members, who are specially trained in food distribution, have lost their jobs as a result of the change in distributor.

    People across the UK tweeted of their outrage over the news. One called it "a sign of the apocalypse." The BBC also described the news as a "chicken chaos."

    SEE ALSO: Meet the long-lost, 26-year-old KFC chicken heiress and Instagram star with her own lingerie company

    READ MORE: How KFC became the biggest fried chicken joint on the planet

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    kfc uk closed

    • Hundreds of KFC stores in the UK remain shut days after the company experienced a nationwide chicken shortage.
    • New distributors working for KFC have been unable to get enough chicken to 750 of the 900 KFCs in Britain.
    • Outraged customers have been calling police and members of parliament to complain.
    • In response, officers suggested that closed chicken shops are not their problem.


    Angry chicken fans in Britain have been reporting KFC to the police because hundreds of their stores ran out of chicken.

    As many as 450 branches across the UK are shut for a fourth day after a change of distributors led to a nationwide chicken shortage for the company.

    Others are open with severely limited menus, including one restaurant in Bristol which could only offer BBQ beans, lettuce and popcorn chicken.

    kfc chicken shortage limited menu

    Police forces in Tower Hamlets, London, and Whitefield, Manchester, have tweeted their frustration at being dragged into KFC's crisis, which they explained was not an issue for them.

    Tower Hamlets MPS said: "It is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire."

    Some frustrated customers have also been contacting their members of parliament in hope of a political solution.

    Neil Coyle, an MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark in south London, wrote on Monday:

    The Telegraph and The Times also reported Luke Pollard, an MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport in south England, as tweeting: "Have had my first person get in touch to ask what’s happening with #KFC . . . and the answer is, I don’t know (yet)."

    Pollard appears to have deleted the tweet in question.

    KFC swapped deliverers from Bidvest Group to DHL last week, causing what the fried-chicken empire described as "teething problems" which have crippled its ability to operate.

    DHL has one distribution depot in Rugby, central England, while Bidvest had several around the country, according to the trades union GMB, which represents slighted Bidvest employees.

    The map below shows the distance lorries have to travel from DHL's Rugby depot to KFC outposts as far away as northern Scotland and the southwestern tip of England.

    KFC and DHL depot

    KFC tweeted on Tuesday evening that "over half" of its stores around the country have reopened, and that "our teams are working flat out to open the rest."

    It also told BBC that, despite its efforts, some will remain shut for the rest of the week.

    The company also has a designated web page where people can find their nearest open outlet.

    "Equilibrium will soon be restored," the company said.

    On Wednesday, the BBC posted a video of at least seven lorries waiting outside DHL's depot in Rugby.

    DHL blamed the chicken shortage on "operational issues," and said that it was working to "rectify the situation as a priority."

    London's Metropolitan Police told Business Insider in a statement: "The Met's call centres currently receive more than 14,500 calls every weekday.

    "The Met is continuing its drive — including the use of its social media channels - to reduce improper use of the 999 and 101 numbers."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    People pass a branch of KFC that is closed due to problems with the delivery of chicken on February 20, 2018 in Bristol, England. KFC has been forced to close hundred of its outlets as a shortage of chicken, due to a failure at the company's new delivery firm DHL, has disrupted the fast-food giant's UK operation and is thought to be costing the fast food chain £1million a day.

    • KFC outlets in the UK are currently suffering from a chicken shortage.
    • Issues with distributors mean that many restaurants are still operating on a limited menu.
    • Now, KFC's woes appear to have deepened as customers are reporting a lack of the restaurant's famous gravy.

    Just a couple of weeks after the KFC chicken crisis was first announced, the fast food restaurant is facing another dilemma with an apparent gravy shortage.

    People across the country have been struggling to cope with KFC's lack of chicken, which all came about due to "teething problems" with a new delivery partner.

    Just over a week ago, it was reported that half of the KFC restaurants in the UK had been forced to close.

    While the majority of the branches are now back up and running, a number of customers have been left feeling dismayed by the scarcity of gravy available at the fast-food chain.

    "I'm eating a KFC in Warrington and they have no gravy. What is going on!", one person wrote on Twitter.

    A sign warns that a limited menu is being operated at a branch of KFC that is operating a limited menu due to problems with the delivery of chicken on February 20, 2018 in Bristol, England.

    Another person detailed how she'd sent her boyfriend to a KFC, only for him to return with no gravy to accompany her food order.

    A spokesperson from KFC has explained that they're doing everything in their power to ensure that KFC returns to business as usual as soon as possible.

    "97 per cent of our restaurants are now open, however, due to the ongoing distribution challenges DHL is experiencing, some restaurants are continuing to serve a reduced menu, including gravy," the spokesperson told The Independent.

    "We're working as hard as we can to get this sorted out, we know that our gravy is a big favourite!"

    It was recently revealed that a KFC supplier had been selling chicken for as little as £1 in order to shift excess produce when an order of 20,000 chicken pieces was returned from a DHL delivery depot in Rugby to Moy Park.

    People have been going to extreme lengths to express their disappointment over the chicken crisis, with some even bothering the police with emergency calls about the issue.

    Tower Hamlets Metropolitan Service shared a tweet urging people to refrain from calling the police force over the matter, which has since gone viral on Twitter.

    "Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis - it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire," they said.

    The tweet has currently been liked more than 20,000 times and has been retweeted nearly 12,000 times.

    SEE ALSO: 750 KFCs in Britain closed because they ran out of chicken

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chicken Tenders

    • Chicken tenders are back in a big way.
    • We tried chicken tenders from several major fast-food chains to find out whose are the best.
    • McDonald's new tenders are a massive improvement and make it into the top three, but Chick-fil-A still comes out on top. 


    The humble chicken tender — or chicken fingers, in some circles — is making a comeback. 

    Chicken tenders are the most glorious incarnation of handheld fried chicken. They're heftier than nuggets, simpler than wings, ideologically purer than boneless wings. The adoration for chicken tenders is universal, bridging the spans of age and class alike — the great equalizers, so they say, are death, taxes, and tenders. With McDonald'sresurrecting them on their menu and Wendy's introducing theirs, the time for tenders has come. 

    A handful of major fast-food chains offer tenders, and we decided to put them all to the test to see which con-tender (sorry) reaches the top of the tourney.

    SEE ALSO: We visited the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America — and what we discovered should terrify KFC and Chick-fil-A

    DON'T MISS: We compared salads from McDonald's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy's — and the results were shocking

    We have seven chains duking it out: Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonald's, Popeyes, Carl's Jr., and Wendy's.

    That's a lot of chicken.



    7. Dairy Queen

    We all knew someone had to come last, and to be honest, most knew it was going to be Dairy Queen.

    Are they terribly awful? No. But Dairy Queen's roots lie in, well, dairy, and it's what it does best. We all love a Blizzard — but DQ's food is often lacking, both in quality and direction. Its tenders have some crunch from their thick breading, but it overpowers the chicken.



    It's strangely doughy in taste, and the entire tender is meek — and it's definitely not inheriting the earth. At best they're slightly better than expectations, but blandly mediocre nonetheless. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    KFC Malaysia

    • KFC Malaysia is celebrating International Women's Day by swapping Colonel Sander's face with that of his wife. 
    • Claudia Sanders is Colonel Harland Sanders' second wife, who previously worked as a waitress at his restaurant and helped him turn KFC into an international empire. 

    KFC locations in Malaysia are celebrating International Women's Day by replacing Colonel Sanders in the chain's marketing. 

    On Thursday, KFC Malaysia announced it would swap the illustration of The Colonel with his wife, Claudia. 

    "It is hard to imagine but KFC would not be where it is today if not for Claudia, wife of Colonel Sanders,"the chain's website reads. "While the Colonel created the secret recipe and ran the company, Mrs Sanders mixed and even shipped the spices to restaurants across the country — often late into the night."

    Some people found the logo swap to be eye-roll inducing. 

    Claudia Sanders, nee Claudia Ledington, was Colonel Harland Sanders' second wife. The pair met when she was a waitress at Sanders' first restaurant, Sanders Cafe, and began their affair while Sanders was still married to his first wife. 

    Claudia and Harland Sanders wed in 1949. She was crucial to KFC's success, helping Colonel Sanders build KFC into an international brand. 

    While KFCs in the US aren't swapping Colonel Sanders face for that of his wife, the chain also featured a female colonel in its homeland recently. 

    kfc reba

    In January, the chicken chain announced that its newest version of Colonel Sanders would be played by country music icon Reba McEntire— the first female Colonel Sanders. 

    KFC isn't the only fast-food chain putting the spotlight on women this International Women's Day. 

    A McDonald's location in Lynwood, California turned its golden-arches sign upside down earlier this week in honor of International Women's Day. On Thursday, the fast-food chain debuted the flipped arches on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Responses to McDonald's flipped logo were mixed, with some people wishing that the fast-food chain had made more concrete actions to help women who work at the company. 

    SEE ALSO: McDonald's is flipping its iconic golden arches upside down in 'celebration of women' — and people are freaking out

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    kfc chicken

    • One KFC in Southern California has an all-you-can-eat option.
    • You can eat as much mashed potatoes, corn, and drumsticks as you can manage, for just $8.99.

    Sounds like the beginning of the end -- Kentucky Fried Chicken locations with all-you-can-eat buffet options? Where do I sign up?

    kfc_buffet

    The tip came in by way of a franticly excited friend of mine who spotted the unicorn-of-a-fastfood-specimen on a recent drive through the city of Banning, a town residing in the Southern California county of Riverside. While this isn't the only KFC in the world with a reported all-you-can-eat buffet, it's the first time I've been privy to it. Furthermore, following an extensive day of research (a five minute polling of my inner circle of friends), none of them were aware such KFC build-outs existed.

    kfc buffet

    All-you-can-eat fast food? The possibilities seem utterly endless. Can you fathom a towering volcano of mashed potatoes, deep fried chicken drumsticks, topped with corn and erupting with gravy? I can't just yet, I have an imagination of a matchbook covered in water. But you can bet I'll be making a trek out to banning to get a load of this unique fast food specimen. Why would I get anything else on the menu when I can eat everything, as many times as I want, for $8.99?

    If you've ever been to, heard of, or have suffered a level-4 food coma from a KFC All-You-Can Eat buffet, let us know in the comments. Do you think they should make them more widely available? Here's a look:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    kfc kenya

    • KFC dropped the Waffle Double Down this week, giving their own spin on chicken and waffles.
    • The Waffle Double Down consists of two fried chicken patties sandwiching a maple aioli-smothered Belgian waffle.
    • As of now, the creation is only available in Canada

    In case you thought KFC couldn’t get more gluttonous (no disrespect!) than the gut-busting Double Down, a meat-filled concoction consisting of two fried chicken patties holding together a mixture of bacon, cheese and sauce, well — you’re in for a surprise.

    KFC dropped their new Waffle Double Down this week, giving their own spin on chicken and waffles. Like the original Double Down, the sandwich “bread” consists of two fried chicken patties, but they’ve swapped out the bacon, cheese, and sauce for a maple aioli-smothered Belgian waffle.

    Are you canceling your brunch plans yet? Don’t be too quick — turns out they’re only releasing the new menu item in good ole Canada, which, honestly, we don’t get. Sure, they’re the home of maple syrup, but the United States is clearly home to the chicken-and-waffles combo.

    "The Double Down is our most talked about and demanded menu item in Canada, so we wanted to do something special exclusively for Canadian fans," said Samantha Redman, chief marketing officer of KFC Canada, in their press release.

    But we don’t buy it. Maybe they’re afraid to compete with something we already get so perfectly. If they wanted to go purely Canadian, maybe they could have found a way to make fried chicken poutine. I mean, we would try it.

    Anyway, unless you’re gonna hop a plane to Toronto this weekend, you’ll just have to find the traditional version of chicken and waffles at your local diner. There are worse fates that could befall you.

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    KFCInChina (2 of 19)

    • KFC is by far the most popular fast food chain in China.
    • Key to KFC's success in the country has been catering its menu to local tastes.
    • I tried a number of dishes at a KFC restaurant in Beijing and found the food to be tastier and fresher than its American counterpart.

     

    With more than 5,000 restaurants in 1,100 cities in China, KFC dominates the country's fast food landscape.

    KFC was the first American fast food chain to launch in the country, opening its first China branch in 1987. It quickly became a symbol of the country's rapidly reforming economy and newfound openness to the world.

    The three-story, 3,600 square-foot restaurant was KFC's largest branch — with seating for 500 people — and just a short walking distance from Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The restaurant was an instant success, with customers lining up outside the restaurant for months on end after it opened.

    As of 2016, KFC still holds 11.6% of the market share in China, according to Euromonitor, far ahead of McDonald's 5.6%. McDonald's only has around 2,500 restaurants.

    Key to KFC's success in the country has been its aggressive catering to Chinese tastes, with menu items that will never make their way to US restaurants. While KFCs in China serve fried chicken, they also serve a variety of local dishes like egg tarts, congee (rice porridge), and the "Dragon Twister."

    While KFC, and its parent company Yum China, suffered a number of hits recent years thanks to a tainted meat scandal in 2014 and problems with avian flu in 2016, the chain has continued to push aggressively in the market. Last year, it launched KPRO, a health food-focused concept restaurant, in Hangzhou, China to test the country's growing interest in healthy eating.

    I decided to give KFC a try on a recent trip to China to see what it was like.

    SEE ALSO: We partied at the exclusive, sexy Hong Kong party with the art world’s elite on a 62,000-square-foot floating restaurant — here’s what it was like

    DON'T MISS: I stayed at Hong Kong’s first 'capsule hotel' to see what it's like to live in micro — and the experience was a nightmare

    With over 5,000 branches, KFC is the most popular fast food chain in China. I headed to a branch in Beijing not far from Tiananmen Square.



    China is littered with fast, cheap food from street vendors. When KFC first opened in China, its American-style sit-down restaurants were seen as a luxury. For many Chinese consumers, the chain guaranteed cleanliness and freshness, an image that has taken a hit in recent years.



    At the time, KFC was seen as an "exciting, unique, and brand-new experience never before encountered… like taking a tour of America, with all its connotations: political, cultural, time, and space — real or imaginary."

    Source: KFC in China



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    George Hamilton KFC


     

    KFC is rolling out a new chicken sandwich to take on Chick-fil-A — and they're bringing back a retired Colonel Sanders to do so. 

    On Friday, the chicken chain announced the launch of the "Crispy Colonel": an extra-crispy chicken sandwich with mayo and pickles that will be available starting Monday, April 23. The Crispy Colonel comes in four flavors — classic, Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot, and Georgia Gold honey mustard BBQ. 

    The new sandwich line up gives KFC the chance to compete with Chick-fil-A, a chain that's increasingly dominating the US on the strength of its sandwich, as well as burger-centric fast-food chains with chicken sandwiches on the menu. 

    Crispy Colonel_Sandwich

    "I really believe this chicken sandwich will be differentiated and superior to anything else on the market, because of how we're preparing it and how piping-hot fresh it's going to be," KFC's CMO Andrea Zahumensky told Business Insider.

    Zahumensky continued: "Unlike the 'burger boys', that are preparing their chicken sandwiches ... in a factory and then frying them, we are pan-preparing with our cooks in the back of the house in our restaurants, and then building them to order, and then serving them." 

    To launch the sandwich, KFC is bringing George Hamilton back as the "Extra Crispy Colonel." Hamilton was introduced as KFC's Colonel Sanders in summer 2016, the last time KFC made an advertising effort to push its extra-crispy chicken. 

    KFC launched the Zinger, a hot chicken sandwich that has proved to be a hit globally, in the US last year as a limited-time offer. 

    "We're going all out to establish ourselves as a sandwich player,"  Kevin Hochman, KFC's president, told Business Insider at the time. "It's easier said than done. We're late to the party — that's why we're throwing in the kitchen sink."

    With the Crispy Colonel, KFC is doubling down on its efforts to grow its sandwich business without ditching chicken-on-the-bone. 

    "If you look at the growing sandwich trend — and we believe we're the fried chicken experts — we believe that fried chicken sandwiches can be a really big part of our business," Zahumensky said. 

    SEE ALSO: KFC just revealed a new Colonel Sanders — and he represents a major change at the chain

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    KFC Crispy Colonel

    • KFC launched a new sandwich called the Crispy Colonel on Monday. 
    • The Crispy Colonel draws inspiration from both Chick-fil-A's iconic sandwich and more traditional fast-food chains. 
    • We tried both sandwiches and were shocked by KFC's ability to step up its sandwich game. 

    KFC has a new weapon against Chick-fil-A. 

    On Monday, KFC debuted the "Crispy Colonel": an extra-crispy chicken sandwich with mayo and pickles. The Crispy Colonel comes in four flavors — classic, Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot, and Georgia Gold honey mustard BBQ.

    The new sandwich line up gives KFC the chance to compete with Chick-fil-A, a chain that's increasingly dominating the US on the strength of its sandwich, as well as burger-centric fast-food chains with chicken sandwiches on the menu.

    "I really believe this chicken sandwich will be differentiated and superior to anything else on the market, because of how we're preparing it and how piping-hot fresh it's going to be," KFC's CMO Andrea Zahumensky told Business Insider.

    We weren't immediately convinced of KFC's ability to triumph over rival chicken chains. Chick-fil-A's sandwich is a heavy-weight competitor, dominating all the taste tests Business Insider has thrown at it. So, we decided to try out the two sandwiches out for ourselves. 

    Here's how KFC's new chicken sandwich compares with Chick-fil-A's iconic menu item. 

    SEE ALSO: KFC is making an unprecedented move to take on Chick-fil-A and McDonald's

    The Crispy Colonel features a craggy chicken filet — a familiar sight for any KFC customer who has ordered the crispy chicken at the chain. The fillet is well-sized, peeking out from the bun without hulking out into a dish that more closely resembles a slab of meat than a sandwich.



    The chicken is standard KFC fare, with the extra-crispy filet admirably creating a nice crunch. If you're a fan of the 11 original herbs and spices, you'll find that flavor replicated here. The fillet is both hearty and avoids any dryness — a common trap for fast-food fried chicken .



    KFC also makes the right choice by eschewing the fast-food fried chicken sandwich go-to of tomato and limp lettuce in favor of Chick-fil-A's standard pickle, as well as mayo. The pickle perfectly cuts through the crispy chicken and the light mayo holds things together without drowning the sandwich. The weakest link is the bun, which is forgettable and slightly dry.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    2000 Calories 4

    • Chain restaurants in America are now required to post calorie counts on their menus. 
    • The FDA suggests eating roughly 2,000 calories a day to sustain energy.
    • Americans tend to consume much more than that on average, and many think processed foods, sugars, and fats that are often present in fast-food is to blame. 
    • We grabbed some pretty ordinary meals from major fast-food chains that add up to at least 2,000 calories — and it's pretty surprising how little it takes to reach it.

    As of Monday, chain restaurants are now required to post calorie amounts on menus, per a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

    The Food and Drug Administration recommends an average daily intake of 2,000 calories. 

    Yet according to data from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the Unit red Nations (FAOSTAT), Americans eat about 3,600 calories daily — a 24% increase from 1961. Healthier, more transparent practices are making their way into the fast-food industry, yet simple awareness isn't always effective.

    The Upshot took pictures of 2,000 calories' worth of restaurant food in 2014. We decided to do our own version and visit 13 fast-food chains to discover what ordering 2,000 calories looks like.

    While many of these arrangements look like single meals, each would be all you are recommended to eat in an entire day.

    Marina Nazario contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: We compared salads from McDonald's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy's — and the results were shocking

    Starbucks

    Venti white-chocolate mocha, sausage and cheddar classic breakfast sandwich, dark cherry Greek yogurtsalted caramel cake pop, coffee cake. Total calories: 2,030.



    McDonald's

    Bacon clubhouse crispy-chicken sandwich, large fries, mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, Oreo McFlurry. Total calories: 2,010.



    Panera Bread

    New England clam-chowder bread bowl, chips, chocolate-chip cookie, bottled lemonade. Total calories: 2,160.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    KFC Crispy Colonel

    • KFC is debuting Pickle Fried Chicken next week. 
    • The dish is the latest flavor in KFC's extra-crispy chicken lineup and will be available for a limited time starting on June 25. 
    • Pickle Fried Chicken is a perfect pick for pickle lovers and manages to elevate a bizarre-sounding dish beyond a fast-food stunt. 

     

    KFC is adding a new type of chicken to the menu. 

    Next week, the chicken chain is launching Pickle Fried Chicken as a very-limited-time new menu item. The dish is a new take on the chain's extra-crispy chicken and is available as tenders or on a sandwich. 

    KFC Crispy Colonel

    In April, KFC debuted the "Crispy Colonel," an extra-crispy chicken sandwich with mayo and pickles. The Crispy Colonel comes in four flavors in addition to the new pickle-flavored one: classic, Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot, and Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ.

    Business Insider had the opportunity to try the new pickle fried chicken prior to its official launch. 

    Pickle, unsurprisingly, reigns supreme in both the sandwich and the tenders. Impressively, the pickle flavor is bold and vinegar-tinged, instead of overwhelming the taste tester with sourness. KFC's extra-crispy chicken proves to be a worthy base, with its craggy crunch pairing well with the pickle-flavored sauce and pickle toppings. 

    Pickle Fried Chicken isn't perfect. The pickle-forward dish is extremely salty, to the detriment of the chicken. And, if left sitting for too long, the pickle sauce can soften some of the extra-crispy crunch. 

    KFC Crispy Colonel

    Is KFC's Pickle Fried Chicken better than the chain's other options? Probably not.

    While the Nashville Hot and Georgia Gold chicken managed to surpass KFC's original 11 herbs and spices, the pickle-flavored chicken isn't a major departure from the chain's original fried chicken. It is tasty — tastier than a marketing stunt needs to be — but it isn't a game changer for KFC. 

    If you're a pickle fan, Pickle Fried Chicken is a home run. And, as long as you aren't a pickle hater, it is still a solid chicken dish. Even skeptics, uncertain that pickle fried chicken could ever be an appealing flavor, said that the dish ended up being a pleasant surprise. However, few of Business Insider's taste testers were demanding Pickle Fried Chicken be added to the menu as a permanent item. 

    KFC is only serving pickle fried chicken for a very limited time this summer, starting on June 25 and lasting until supplies run out. 

    SEE ALSO: KFC is making an unprecedented move to take on Chick-fil-A and McDonald's

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    McDonald's Kiosk


     

    Meet the newest fry cook at the US burger chain CaliBurger: Flippy. This robot, which will be installed in up to 10 of CaliBurger's 50 locations, can turn patties on a grill and clean it.

    The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Flippy and its automated peers at fast food joints nationwide. The conclusion: Technology in fast food establishments isn't replacing workers — it's filling an expanding hole in the labor market.

    As Business Insider reported in May, fast food employee turnover rates have hit a record high.

    A restaurant that employs 20 people can expect to see 30 workers in the span of a year. The unemployment rate for restaurant workers is also the lowest on record, according to Labor Department data reported by the Journal

    Dunkin' Donuts CEO Nigel Travis previously told Business Insider's Kate Taylor that fast food's labor shortage is the industry's biggest crisis this year.

    "In this market, employees will leave if they have one bad day," Patrick Sugrue, the chief executive of Saladworks, told the Journal. "If that happens, having this technology in place makes it easier to deal with."

    Here's where robots are filling the labor gaps:

    Robots make food preparation easier for fast-food workers

    CaliBurger's Flippy does just what the name describes — it flips burgers, easing the chain's need for more line cooks.

    Arby's has also installed ovens that roast its beef and automatically switches to holding mode, according to the Journal.

    "That allows night crews to begin cooking for the next day's lunch before leaving, eliminating the need for morning employees to arrive at 7 a.m. to begin the three-hour roasting process," the Journal reported

    Some Dunkin' Donuts shops have devices that grind and weigh coffee beans and assess the grind's coarseness, the Journal reported. Some shops also have terminals that print out expiration times for different foods, rather than requiring workers to write the expiration labels by hand.

    Self-service kiosks free up employees' time to drive more business

    Panera and McDonald's are leading the charge on self-service kiosks. 

    At Panera, the cashiers that may have taken customers orders in the past may be reassigned to delivering food to tables or food preparation. "There's a craft to making food, and that's hard to replicate with robotics," Panera Chief Executive Blaine Hurst told the Journal

    Shake Shack kiosk Astor PlaceThanks to kiosks freeing up some labor, McDonald's has also expanded into table service.

    The restaurants report that kiosks have also helped both chains expand their delivery. Take-out, Delivery, drive-thru, catering, and other off-premise orders now comprise 62% of Panera's business — an important new source of revenue, as Business Insider's Taylor previously reported.

    Other brands have experimented with concept stores. An entirely human-free KFC in Shanghai has friendly robots who take customers' orders. 

    Grimy cleaning tasks are becoming a thing of the past

    CaliBurger's Flippy can not only turn burgers on the grill, but the robot can also clean the grill after use.

    Wendy's has implemented a slew of self-cleaning machines, according to the Journal. In order to remove the need to clean bacon grease off of stoves, some locations have installed self-cleaning ovens.

    Complicated dishwashers have been replaced with new machines that cost $6,500, according to the Journal. It saves nearly ten hours of labor per week to ensure bowls, spatulas, and other food prep utensils are clean.

    Read the entire report at The Wall Street Journal. 

    SEE ALSO: The fast food industry is facing a growing crisis

    DON'T MISS: 12 jobs robots are already taking over

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    KFC Jason Alexander

    • KFC's newest Colonel Sanders is Jason Alexander, the actor and comedian. 
    • Alexander, best known for playing George Costanza on Seinfeld, is the latest of a long list of celebrities — including Billy Zane, Darrell Hammond, and Reba McEntire — to star in KFC commercials as Colonel Sanders. 
    • Alexander will help promote the chain's $20 Fill Ups, KFC's bucket-centric takeout bundle intended to feed a group.

     

    KFC has a new Colonel Sanders. 

    The fried-chicken chain announced on Monday that the newest celebrity Colonel is Jason Alexander, the actor and comedian best known for playing George Costanza on the television show "Seinfeld."

    Alexander will help promote the chain's $20 Fill Ups, KFC's bucket-centric takeout bundle intended to feed a group. KFC is now offering four varieties of the $20 Fill Up, with buckets of original recipe chicken, extra crispy chicken, crispy tenders, or filet. 

    "With four chicken meals to choose from and each at only $20, we are continuing KFC's tradition of providing an easy dinnertime solution for families at a great value — and there's no better person to spread the word about our new 'family of four' in a sitcom setting than comedy extraordinaire Jason Alexander!" Andrea Zahumensky, KFC's US CMO, said in a statement. 

    kfc reba 2

    KFC has cast a wide range of stars to play Colonel Sanders in recent years, including Billy Zane, Darrell Hammond, and Reba McEntire, who served as the chain's first female Colonel earlier this year. 

    The chain debuted its Colonel Sanders-centric marketing campaign in 2015.

    Despite initial backlash, the campaign has sparked somewhat of a turnaround at KFC, which has seen moderate sales growth over the last three years in the US. Last week, KFC reported that US same-store sales were flat in the most recent quarter. 

    Here's the first KFC ad starring Jason Alexander as Colonel Sanders: 

     

    SEE ALSO: KFC is debuting a bizarre, pickle-flavored fried chicken. Here's the verdict.

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    Hapthor Bjornsson The Mountain Game of Thrones actor is new KFC Colonel Sanders


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    tunnel

    • Authorities say they found a drug smuggling tunnel leading to Mexico in the kitchen of a former KFC.
    • The tunnel is reportedly 8 inches in diameter, 22 feet deep, and about 600 feet long.
    • Officers believe that people were using a rope to transport the drugs back and forth, according to reports.
    • The tunnel was discovered after a drug bust in which officers say they found 168 kilograms of narcotics in a man's car.
    • The tunnel is currently being investigated. 

     
    Authorities in San Luis, Arizona, say they found a drug tunnel that leads to a home in Mexico in the kitchen of a former Kentucky Fried Chicken, KCBD reports

    The nearly 600-foot-long tunnel was discovered after an August 13 drug bust, according to the outlet. During a police traffic stop, 168 kilograms — or 360 pounds —of narcotics were found inside toolboxes in a car being driven by a man named Ivan Lopez, KYMA reported. 

    In the car, authorities say they found 118 kilograms of methamphetamine, 6 grams of cocaine, 3 kilograms of fentanyl, 13 kilograms of white heroin and 6 kilograms of brown heroin, per KYMA.

     Lopez, who owns the building that housed the former KFC, was allegedly seen removing the toolboxes from the former restaurant earlier that day, a Homeland Security agent said, according to KYMA.

    After discovering the narcotics, agents executed a search warrant on both Lopez's home and the former KFC, both outlets reported. They found the tunnel in the kitchen of the restaurant. 

    The alleged smuggling tunnel runs from the kitchen of the former KFC to a home in Mexico, where it opens into a trap door underneath a bed, according to KCBD. The tunnel is 8 inches in diameter, 22 feet deep, and about 600 feet long. Agents believe that a rope was used to transport the drugs back and forth. 

    The tunnel is currently being investigated. 

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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    KFC Chicken Tenders

    • KFC is developing a new value strategy that includes deals beyond its fill-ups and buckets, the chain's chief marketing officer, Andrea Zahumensky, told Business Insider.
    • Customers "are more pinched than ever, so we want to provide solutions for them," Zahumensky said.
    • Fast-food chains are slashing prices in an attempt to win over customers who refuse to — or can't afford to — pay more for their meals.

    KFC, known for its fill-up and bucket deals, is exploring a new approach to value as fast-food chains slash prices.

    "$5 fill-ups and $20 fill-ups will continue to be an important part of our brand and an important part of our strategy, but we're also looking at new tools to bring to the market ... in 2019," KFC's US chief marketing officer, Andrea Zahumensky, told Business Insider.

    For example, Zahumensky said, the chain is testing a two-for-$3 Chicken Littles sandwich deal in Nashville, Tennessee, a lower price point than the $5 fill-up.

    "It's really in response to watching our customers' needs," Zahumensky said. "They are more pinched than ever, so we want to provide solutions for them so they can come to KFC and really feel satisfied."

    KFC vs Popeye's 3

    When KFC launched the $5 and $20 fill-up meals in 2015, they served as an instant sales boost. But, three years later, KFC is looking for a new sales driver. With gas prices nearing a four-year high and the cost of healthcare rising, Zahumensky says, many KFC customers have less discretionary income than they enjoyed in recent years.

    "We stay very close to our customers and make sure we really understand their reality, what they're going through right now," Zahumensky said.

    KFC isn't alone in reconsidering its value strategy and slashing prices whenever possible. In 2018, Wendy's expanded its 4-for-$4 bundle deal, Taco Bell doubled down on its $1 menu, and McDonald's debuted its new $1 $2 $3 menu.

    Zahumensky attributes the industry's many deals to a desire to appeal to an increasingly squeezed customer base.

    While the median US income is on the rise, top earners' income growth is significantly outpacing earnings increases for lower-income households. In 2017, the top 5% of households saw average incomes rise to 8.7% higher than prerecession levels. Among the bottom fifth of the population, average incomes still grew but remained 2.7% below prerecession figures.

    KFC vs Popeye's 5A UBS Evidence Lab survey shared with investors in March found that customers said "good value" was the top reason they would visit a fast-food chain more often.

    According to the survey, the emphasis on value is one of necessity. Having "less free spending money lately" and chains being "too expensive" were the top two factors that customers cited for eating at a particular chain less often.

    Part of KFC's plan for value in 2019 involves looking at different price points, though Zahumensky says the chain will avoid "random" bundles of menu items. KFC also isn't planning to offer a dollar menu, the weapon of choice for chains including McDonald's and Taco Bell.

    The price of chicken — which KFC fries in locations' kitchens at a greater expense than preparing elsewhere would cost — limits the chain from pushing out $1 menu items.

    While it could, theoretically, serve something like a single chicken wing for a dollar, to do so would be antithetical to KFC's emphasis on its deals being satisfying meals, something Zahumensky says sets the chain apart from its rivals.

    "We really try and stay true to doing things the hard way — which also means that, sometimes we can't have the quality that we expect at a dollar," Zahumensky said.

    SEE ALSO: 'Please stand with us': LaCroix slams 'misleading' lawsuit that links the sparkling water to insecticides

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