If you haven’t seen Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new grilled chicken products, you probably don’t have a television or radio.  KFC has been heavily promoting their new product launch with the hopes of getting the health conscious consumers into their restaurants.  In addition to traditional media, KFC tapped “The Big O,” Oprah, in order to create a little more consumer buzz.

KFC is trying to transform itself into “KGC” and they did so with a little help from an Oprah endorsement on Tuesday.  The Oprah tie-in offered coupons for free samples via the grilled chicken website (http://www.unthinkkfc.com/).  The good news, the restaurant chain got a better than expected response.  The bad news, the response seemed to be too good; restaurants were unprepared for the influx of customers and some restaurants had to start turning guests away.

Industry experts are nervous that this snafu might cost the chain more customers than it converts.  Although the turning away of customers is never a good thing, this is a move the company needed to make.  They needed to create a “healthy” menu item because their counterparts already had and with their struggling share of the industry, healthy was the only new product that would make a splash.

The rebranding effort to KGC is a different story.  KFC has tried several times to rebrand itself and although KFC stuck, after several back and forth name changes, (taking away the “fried” in order to not have it top of mind for consumers) other efforts like their “rotisserie gold” healthy product flopped.  Consumers are going to be the ones that either accept KGC or they will be the ones to shoot it down.  Personally, one menu item shouldn’t allow KFC to change their name.  If they were making a move to mostly grilled with one or two fried menu items, maybe.

The industry believes it is going to be up to the consumer whether this grilled chicken product is a success or not.  To read about what industry experts believe are the positives and negatives of this new product and new name, go to: http://adage.com/article?article_id=136484

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