Don Messerli’s Blog |

An exercise in self-indulgence.

Why is KFC failing?

Friday Oct 21, 2005

I stopped at KFC for lunch today. It wasn’t my first choice; but the fast-food spaghetti place I was headed for was out of business. Probably because I haven’t been there in months.

The company that owns KFC (Yum Foods) has previously stated that KFC is losing money and that their profits from Taco Bell are keeping the company going. KFC is failing. But why?

KFC has been adding items to their menu like mad. Black beans and rice, the Snacker, wings, and most recently Chops (chopped chicken with rice and salad-type veggies). They honestly believe that they are losing customers to new upstarts because they have menu items that KFC doesn’t. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If I pass a KFC in the midst of looking for a fast food fix, I don’t say, “No, not KFC, they don’t have Buffalo wings!”. I say something more like, “No, not KFC, their service sucks!”. Their service is among the worst in the industry AND their stores are aging and decrepit. God forbid I might have to use the restroom!

My predictions… You will see fewer and fewer standalone KFC locations. More of them will be those KFC/Taco Bell in the same building things. They need the Taco Bell customers to subsidize the diminishing KFC customers. The problem with these hybrid locations is… wait for it… THE SERVICE SUCKS!!! They’ve taken the worst of both worlds and combined them to make the dining experience from hell.

My advice to Yum Foods… Kill KFC. Don’t let the dying brand drag down the healthy one.