Can rebranding create a success for KFC

I witnessed a clear example of this in a very smart London restaurant only last week. A table ordered a bottle of red Sancerre and the waiter approached the table, presented the wine and then attempted to open the bottle of wine with a waiter's friend. Sadly he only inserted the corkscrew half of the way into the cork and as he went to pull the cork out it broke off leaving half the cork in the bottle. Certainly an embarrassing situation for the waiter, only made

In an attempt to shrug of its unhealthy fast food image, KFC are making some changes to their brand and operation.  In particular:

  • The logo is being adjusted slightly.
  • The brand strapline has changed from “finger lickin’ good” to “So good”
  • A new griddle style cooker is being introduced.
  • Palm oil is being replaced with rapeseed oil
  • Calorie counts will appear on all menu items

What do Harris Restaurant Consultants think about the changes?  Owner and proprietor Mark Harris explains:

The adjustment to the logo is aesthetic and the look is a little more contemporary.  It has possibly been introduced to coincide with the introduction of the new strapline and the new changes coming into place over the next few months.

The new strapline “So good” has been ridiculed by many.  Was there the need to change it at all?  It is one of the world’s most recognisable straplines.  Representatives for KFC explain that it truly embodies the new healthier direction of KFC.  No doubt a great deal of money and time was invested in creating this new strapline, it will surely take some time for the consumer to link “So good” with KFC.  We should expect a strong marketing campaign to promote the new brand direction in the near future.

The introduction of a new style of cooking in the form of a griddle is certainly a more healthier option than deep frying and it will be interesting to see how this new addition to the menu will be accepted by the present customers and perhaps a new breed of KFC customer.  Chicken is a healthy option in itself, at the end of the day it is the cooking method that will make the meal healthy or not. 

The introduction of rapeseed oil in most of the fryers at KFC is certainly a welcome initiative.  Not only is rapeseed oil very healthy containing omega 3, 6 and 9 oils and is as healthy if not more so than olive oil, but its impact on the environment is negligible in comparison to palm oil.  The only concern I would have is in the taste of the rape seed oil in comparison to palm oil.  For regulars of KFC, I am in little doubt that they will notice the stronger more intense flavour and taste of the rapeseed oil.  Whether the healthier qualities will make up for the change in taste, only time will tell.  I am quite positive that KFC will have carried out extensive tests on these new cooking methods and techniques therefore have a good idea how the KFC regular will react.

With regards calorie labelling, I predict this will become more mainstream in the next 18 months or so.  The government are already encouraging businesses to adopt calorie counting although it is not compulsory.  KFC are certainly quite forward thinking in this initiative and a step ahead of the competition.

In conclusion, KFC is a world recognised brand with a fine history dating back decades.  It is clear that the brand needs to become healthier, but will these changes be enough?  Will KFC end up alienating some of its present consumers whilst not managing to attract new customers?  Only time will tell.

Harris Restaurant Consultants assist many businesses with change and implementing new brand directions.  For further information on our services, please feel free to contact Mark Harris personally on 020 7480 5611 or 07930 474 472.  Alternatively send an email to help@harrisrestaurantconsultants.com.