Category Archives: kfc

Review: KFC Big Boss is a big mess

big-bossYou kind of have to wonder what took KFC so long to put together its own version of McDonald’s ever-popular Big Mac, but it’s finally here: meet the Big Boss.

In describing this creation, I’m reminded of the famous Big Mac jingle that listed its ingredients musically: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” In fact, if you remove the beef and replace it with two breaded chicken fillets, the Big Boss is the exact same thing. It doesn’t just look like the Big Mac, it is the Big Mac - but with chicken.

Sadly for my health, a good portion of readers now expect me to routinely try these things on their behalf, so off I went to the local KFC. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 14, 2014 in food, kfc


Restaurants fighting reality with cellphone bans

cellphonesA KFC outlet in Australia is engaging in an interesting experiment: it’s banning mobile phone use by customers. The restaurant, in the Sydney suburb of Northmead, is asking visitors to put their devices into a “mobile collection bucket” for the duration of their stay.

Management says it is trying to boost morale and encourage socialization among customers.

“We noticed when our customers come in and have lunch they all look pretty lonely looking at their phones,” manager Bobby Narayan told Australia’s “(This) creates a better atmosphere.”

The move follows on similar bans or experiments by more upscale dining establishments, such as the Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles, which made headlines last year by offering customers a 5-per-cent discount if they left their devices at the door. Abu Ghosh, a restaurant in Israel, is taking that to the extreme with a 50-per-cent discount for the same. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in food, kfc, mobile


KFC and tech: kindred spirits with bad names

kfc-fillerYou know, fast food and technology aren’t all that unlike. Both depend on continual product innovation to succeed. Both can also see those new products sunk by something as simple as a bad name.

In the technology world, we have greatest misses such as Sony’s impossible-to-pronounce Qriocity streaming service, the slightly dirty sounding iMuffs headphones, and even Casio’s G’zOne ruggedized phone, whose pronunciation puts even Qriocity to shame.

You kind of have to feel bad for the smart people who have put so much time into creating the products themselves, only to have misguided marketing types come up with completely dumb names that assure they’ll never get a shot at succeeding.

It works the same in the food world. Case in point - KFC Canada is selling some new chicken sandwiches, which could be interesting if not for their names: the Filler Subs.

Seriously. As the photo above shows, they’re actually called Fillers. Check ‘em out on Facebook.

The name is horribly and ironically bad for two reasons. Either it gives customers the impression that the sandwich is made up of filler materials, or it reminds them that what they’re eating is actually just filler and not at all nutritious. KFC might as well as just add a tagline: “The new Filler: You’ll be hungry again real soon!” Either way: bad, bad, bad.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the board room when this product was named. Even marketers agree that it’s horrible.


Posted by on July 26, 2013 in kfc


Fast-food robots can’t get here soon enough

Japan’s Motoman robots can make pancakes.

So I get Google Alerts on just about fast-food chain there is. I see a lot of stuff that the average person, because they don’t have the same macabre interest, doesn’t have to or want to see. In processing all this information, I’ve learned two things: there’s an awful lot of crime that goes on in these places (especially Taco Bell, for some reason), and there’s an awful lot of disgusting things that happen in these places.

Sure, we’ve heard the stories of Burger King employees taking baths in the big kitchen sinks or Domino’s workers putting boogers in the pizza. But for some reason, I’ve found those incidents more funny than disgusting. Obviously, I have a twisted sense of humour.

But the latest situation is, even for me, a step too far. Somewhere here in Ontario, some KFC worker served up a raw chicken sandwich to a customer, the photo of which ended up on Reddit, whereupon the Huffington Post picked it up. The poor diner had no idea until he bit into it.

It must have been because I had just cooked some chicken, but seeing that photo actually made me queasy (I can’t even bring myself to replicate it here). I suppose that having bodily substances put into your food is one thing, but the texture of raw chicken and biting into it? Eeeeyugghh.

There is a feeling out there that manufacturing, after fleeing North America for decades to the likes of China, may finally be starting to return to our shores as robotics become better and cheaper. If so, how much longer till those same economic forces start to transform the fast-food industry?

I’ve been hoping and praying that robots will replace lowly paid unskilled labourers who don’t care about their jobs for a while now. Those are, after all, the types of employees who engage in such sick jokes. There’s no reason why machines can’t replace them. They can take our orders, cook our food and deliver it to us, all without the threat of boogers, baths or raw chicken. We have the technology.

Fortunately, some early pioneers - like the fully automated restaurant in Germany - are trying. But how long before some larger chain sees the benefit, both from operations and public relations standpoints, of converting to an automated workforce?

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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in food, kfc, robots


KFC ad reviled in the U.K.

There is, apparently, nothing more offensive to Brits than singing with one’s mouth open. Or so says the Advertising Standards Authority, which recently released data detailing complaints about commercials since the 1950s.

The most complained about ad is a 2005 spot from KFC for crispy chicken, which features some women singing with food in their mouths. The ad has received 1,671 complaints since it aired, with a commercial featuring a soccer player kicking a cat across a field coming in second with 1,313.

Check out the KFC ad:

Is it bad? Sure. But is it offensive? Not to me. I would have gone with the cat kicking, myself.

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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in kfc


Fast food joints looking to escape the ghetto

QSR magazine, the Time or Newsweek of the fast-food industry, recently released its top 100 news stories of the year. Most were ho-hum, but one that struck me was #4: “Wendy’s Tests New Prototype.” As the entry goes:

After hearing feedback from customers that its brand was tired and dated, Wendy’s unveiled a new store prototype in Columbus, Ohio, that allows diners to see the fresh preparation of food and offers more comfortable dining areas for customers to lounge in. The new store is one of four the company is launching. The new prototype in Columbus includes a WiFi lounge area, a new premium coffee program, updated interiors, and an exterior design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

No kidding. Given that I sometimes write about fast food, I do on occasion pop into such establishments - for research, of course - and I haven’t been able to help but notice that many of them are, simply put, ghetto dumps. With looks that haven’t changed in 20 to 30 years and the onset of grimy decay, a lot of fast-food joints look like what many people say they are: decidedly low class.

The smarter chains know this and are taking action. McDonalds, the industry king, recently announced it was spending $1 billion on renovations in Canada - and it shows. Say what you will about the food, but most recently renovated McDonalds restaurants feel very different than their competitors. You don’t feel dirty just by sitting in one.

The other night, I was at a Christmas party for media hosted by new wireless operator Mobilicity. The man behind the cellphone company is John Bitove, who also runs a number of other businesses including a whack of KFC and Taco Bell franchises. I remembered reading something a while back about how his company Priszm was looking to unload the franchises because the parent company, Yum Brands, wanted expensive renovations. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 15, 2011 in food, kfc, mcdonald's, new york fries, taco bell, tim hortons


KFC gets finger printin’ good with biometrics

In a bit of news that can be filed under the “Why Don’t They Just Convert to Robots and Get it Over With Already?” department, KFC restaurants in the midwest and southeastern United States are adding fingerprint sensors to cut costs and keep better tabs on employees.

For white collar workers everywhere, the punch clock is pretty much a distant relic of a bygone era. Yet in the glorious and fabulous world of fast-food employment, worker drones still have to punch in and out to earn their measly wages. If you’ve read Sex, Bombs and Burgers, you know that such companies are always experimenting with how to save a few pennies through new technologies. With the scale of their operations, those pennies add up to millions and billions.

The fast food biz - and many other sectors that use time clocks to track employees - is rife with something called “buddy punching,” which is where one worker punches his or her friend in early if that person is late. The result is that many employees are getting paid when they’re not actually at work.

The shock! The horror! This irony to any white-collar types who take work-related phone calls when they’re not at the office, or the total comedy to us freelancers who are always working.

Anyhow, the biometric fingerprint sensors supposedly prevent all that and save big bucks, not just by keeping close tabs on tardy employees, but also in supervision costs. I wrote about how McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts were using this technology a few years back and, as a biometrics expert explained, “If you don’t need someone watching people clock in and clock out… you can save thousands of man hours.”

Of course, this all assumes that fast-food employees don’t get wise to the technology. As Hollywood has amply shown, there are many ways to fake fingerprints. None of this would be a problem if KFC and McDonald’s just used robots to serve us our chicken and burgers.

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in kfc


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