Sunday, 25 January 2009

My KFC dream...a vision of the future?

Last night, I had a dream about KFC. I don't know why (maybe because I had been out the night before and planned to visit the Colonel in the morning) but as soon as I awoke from said dream, I grabbed a pen and jotted down as much as I could remember. I knew that what had come to me in the night was quite possibly the most important insight into the future. In many ways, I feel like I was touched by the Colonel, like he was trying to transmit his plans to me. The following is an outline of the dream and the vision that I had.

The dream revolved around a new menu, which included a variety of new products. After receiving a tip off from an old friend at Uni (not sure why) I immediately went to the KFC website to check it out. There I was confronted with a redesigned menu featuring not only the classic favourites but at least 50% new products.

It wasn't until I awoke that I realised the importance of what I had seen on this "dream menu" and I will now share with you my vision of the future:

1) The centre piece of the new menu was a double-decker burger, from what I can remember looked like a double stacked fillet burger with an extra layer of bun in the middle.

2) A muffin chicken roll/burger. This seemed to be about the same size as a mini fillet burger, but in a soft muffin style roll and with a warm cheese sauce.

3) A new side option was what I can only describe as a "ball of beans". Basically this was box of small bite-size balls containing baked beans and chicken pieces, coated in the secret recipe coating. There was also an optional upgraded to cheese coated variety (mozzarella i believe).

4) Another side option instead of the usual beans/gravy/corn was a small pot of savoury rice.

5) An interesting addition to the dessert range was a giant "pancake burger". This appeared to be a layered like a burger but with pancakes for the bun layers and some kind of filling. I can't fully remember whether or not there was chicken involved (it seems unlikely with pancakes, and this is why i assume it would be part of the dessert menu...but who knows!)

I'm sure there was more to the menu but unfortunately this is all I can recall. I believe I've caught a glimpse of the future here, and although items such as the pancake style burger and "ball'o'beans" seem a little unlikely, I believe they would be a delicious addition. I would certainly like to try the chicken muffin roll, and the savoury rice side option is probably the most realistic menu upgrade (I imagine this would be quite similar to the Nando's style savoury rice side, which works very well with chicken). Let's hopes this is a dream come true.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Snack Boxes are go!

Times are tight you know. Credit crunch this, recession that. And guess what, the Colonel's been listening. May we present to you the Snack Box range with a choice of mini breast fillet, popcorn chicken, two hot wings or a piece of original recipe chicken to accompany your large fries. We would write an extensive review were it not for the fact that you pretty much know what you're getting here. Delicious? Yes. Good value? Certainly. A rival to the Zinger Tower meal? Of course not.

Now when will the price of the mini fillet be dropped back down to 99p?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Casdon 521

Introducing the Casdon 521. This exciting licenced KFC Play Counter is the great way to indoctrinate your little ones with KFC branding before they've even old enough to eat it.

Made form durable plastic and featuring some sophisticated electronics this is the must have toy of 2009. Don't just take my word for it, watch the informative video and read customer reviews!

The illusion of the 'American dream' (and its equivalent throughout the western world) has probably never been more popular than today. Never before have so many children been encouraged to harbour the delusion that they could be the next Clive Sinclair, Peter Beardsley or Mick Hucknall. This is an excellent back-up for the pragmatic parent, who realises their offspring's true calling in life. Thanks to this set, my son Horace was able to gain his third star within just six months of employment. A marvelously entertaining and educational set for the up-and-coming no-hoper.
Wayne Redhart- West Mids

This has kept my children entertained the light at the top makes them feel they are really cooking it and the drinks machine is really realistic.

Having a toy that promotes fast food to children, at a time when obesity is rising rapidly is just sick. I can't believe anyone is mad enough to recommend this as a children's gift.

If your kids love KFC they will love this toy my kids spend hours playing this the toy and I get involved too great set up and working voices fun for 3-8 years old.
R L Deans- Cambuslang UK

Produced under licence by Casdon the 521 has revolutionised playtime. I was hearing so much chatter about the product that I decided to test it out myself. Casdon agreed to send me a play counter to review and I haven't been disappointed.

What the pictures fail to get across is the quality of the chinese craftsmanship that goes into it's manufacture. This really is a sturdy plaything that will serve your child well. There are interactive elements too as seen in the promotional video.

Children can play at replicating or even creating new burgers using the supplied food pieces and have hours of fun learning KFC's marketing slogans. However, there are one or two discrepencies that will hinder true KFC fan's enjoyment of the product.

As we all know KFC uses pressure fryers to lock in the moisture and taste to their chicken, the Casdon 521 relies on a sole drop basket model fryer, not consistent with KFC's high quality cooking methods.

The only other serious concern is the proportional anomolies. For example the tray provided is nowhere near big enough to take all the constituents of a meal and a side order of beans or coleslaw is roughly the same size as a drink.

If however you are able to overlook these small inconsistencies you or your child will surely have hours of fun .

Friday, 9 January 2009

Rogues Gallery

It was Charles Caleb Colton, a 19th Century English cleric who first uttered the oft repeated words 'Imitation is the sincerest (form of) flattery'. If it is true of fast food restaurants then the most admired is, as we all know, our beloved KFC.

When appraising a typical grease soaked high street, there in fact appears to be a dearth of those imitating both McDonalds and Burger King in either menu or nomenclature. The Burger it appears is not a popular choice amongst drunks. . . .Fried Chicken, on the other hand, is a late night; runaway success. These KFC imitators have come like a plague onto British high streets and it is high time their mendacity was exposed. The imitation we see today is not flattery, oh no. It is the rampant , unchecked and dark heart of commercialism.

If tasty hamburgers were a late night staple, I may be tempted to conclude that perhaps McDonalds and Burger King are much more litigious and blocking such blatant mimicry through the courts. Whilst there are few who primarily sell the burger there are many, many, after dark purveyors of 'the bird'. Some have merely chosen a moniker including the word chicken, that in no way infringes upon the the good name and standing that KFC has within local communities up and down the land. Chicken Cottage, Chicken Delight and Chicken Corner are all good examples of an honestly competitive trading style whose proprietors are not trying to prosper on the back of others' hard work and dedication to flavour.

Below however I name and shame those who show blatant disregard and flagrantly infringe upon KFC's good name. The first two are even more bizarre engaging in larceny of two well known retailers' sobriquets to form a hideous and shameful portmanteau of a name........I introduce this repugnant pair:

Now, for the top 5 worst offenders:

In Joint 5th place, any establishment, using the name of any southern US State before the hallowed words, Fried Chicken. The two examples below are by no means an exhaustive list and I'm led to believe there are also Georgia, Alabama and Carolina versions.

Moving on now to what, due to a second tie is joint second place:

I simply could not separate these two in terms of wickedness, one engages in aural trickery, the other visual. It is not hard to imagine, I'm sure you'll agree, a sober person having his interest piqued to the point of arousal upon being told they were going for dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken, only to find his unconscious mind had been tricked by the similarity of hearing 'Hentucky'.

The next, 'Golden Fried Chicken' has had a mediocre attempt when it comes to the name. But has instructed its shopfitters, to construct a near carbon copy of early Colonesque archithecture for its shop front. How one weeps for the late night revellers with blurred vision who wander in under a fallacy to be sorely dissapointed by the substandard and barren menu that greets them.

First place though has only one serious contender. The audacity shown here is immeasurable, but the flash of genius that went into the actual name is worthy of propelling its progenitor to the status of anti-hero. And so, I introduce, in first place:Please, remain vigilant, for the sake of your children and your children's children, for, if left unchecked the menace of the misnomer could grow into a behemoth, that threatens our very way of eating chicken.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A letter to KFC HQ

Mr David Goodman
xx xxx xxxxxx
xxxx xxx

Dear Sir or Madam,

We here at Kentucky Fried Bloggin’ were very excited when you launched the trial of KFC AM in London last May. Those at KFB’s head office have had the pleasure of a number of the breakfast items. However, those of us diligently working at the regional office in Staffordshire have not been so lucky. It has sadly been some time since I travelled to our nation’s capital and I’ve been unable to sample the AM menu.

I understand that the trial was to further extended to the Tyne Tees area (incidentally a region I have never travelled to for either business or pleasure), I do hope the two trials have been a success and a national roll out is to be unveiled soon? If so I would love to know when this will be exactly?

Reviews of the AM products, especially the ingredient packed AM Wrapstar have been very favourable although the bent towards possibly excessive levels of cheese has been commented upon. Only 1 item on the new AM menu is devoid of cheese and with roughly 5% of Northern Europeans being lactose intolerant, is this wise?

Whilst I’m here I’d also like to take the time to make a few additional comments on the UK operation in general. Firstly it’s great! I’ve recently completed a US tour of KFC’s encompassing Louisville, Kentucky where unfortunately the tail end of last summer’s hurricane Ike prevented us from visiting the Colonel’s grave. Another real treat was in Utah where we visited the world’s fist KFC. . . . . . a dream come true. I have some pictures if you would like to see them? American menus were so varied from branch to branch, but ultimately there was no Zing which for me is the cornerstone of my personal enjoyment of KFC. However of all the KFC’s in all the world the UK’s are the best with by far and away the best menu.

Another great thing you did in 2008 was to entirely overhaul that tired old website for the brilliant paradigm I see before me, it really is the acme of QSR websites. I particularly love the part where, when the graphics are loading, the viewer is told that the website is not ‘loading’ but that it is ‘adding secret ingredients’, genius.

Your constant commitment to product innovation should be applauded, the Flavour Station, Hot Rods (a particular favourite) the Big Daddy Burger and the Wrapstar have all tickled our taste buds in 2008 and we look forward to further innovations in 2009. However, without a doubt, the Zinger Tower burger remains the apogee of your menu.

One small gripe I have though is the ‘Contact us’ section of your website. I found no email address by which to ‘contact you’, it would be great if I didn’t have to damage the planet (and my pocket, though that’s of lesser concern to me) by sending this letter. Any plans to introduce an email contact address?

Our members also wonder if there is a way we can get a complete list of operating KFC branches in the UK in order for us to visit them all and plot our progress on a map at KFBHQ using a system of coloured pins.

We have also composed a prayer, based on the traditional Christian Lord’s prayer. It was amazing actually how easily a false idol such as Colonel Sanders slipped so easily into the role of deity. I wonder, would you like to see it?

I look forward to your reply, and hearing any comments you may have. I do hope you’re able to clear up a couple of the points for me.

Many Thanks
David Goodman

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Hough Retail Park branch review 24/12/08

After nearly a month of operation, I decided it was time to visit the newest addition to Staffordshire's arsenal of KFC's. I assumed that by now the new team would have had plenty of time to assimilate protocol and most importantly have learned to build a good quality Zinger Tower Burger.

The Hough retail park branch (Stafford's first drive through) was heralded by an article in the local publication the Express & Star. The paper has a circulation of roughly 130,000 so giving the restaurant nestled in the county town's Eastern enclaves a good publicity boost. For months there had been palpable excitement amongst Staffordians who had clearly been whipped up into a frenzy of euphoria by this rousing comment from a KFC spokesman, “We look forward to opening this new restaurant which will offer the convenience of a drive-through facility.” Indeed!

I braved the Christmas eve crowds and arrived at the restaurant shortly after one in the afternoon and took up my place in the queue. I was seventh or eighth from the front and resolved to spend what I assumed would be a short time queuing to visually appraising my surroundings.

The restaurant was beautifully appointed with warm red and orange colours and some seldom seen soft furnishings as well as areas of more traditional seating layouts. However it was around this time that I began to become aware of what would become a litany of errors and failures so large that to be properly managed they would need catalogueing and indexing.

Firstly, the restaurant had made utterly no avowal to the festive period with neither decorations nor any attemp to find a CD of christmas music. This was in sharp contrast to the Loughborough branch I visited on New Years Day, the entire interior of which shimmered with gold and silver decorations.

By this time I became aware of the sluggishness of the queue which had hardly advanced since I took my place in it. I began my second visual sweep of the premesis and saw a sea of litter strewn tables as is so often the case. Slowly I advanced to the head of the line and placed my order of a hot rods box meal with gravy upgraded of course to a zinger tower.

I had calculated the price to be £5.09 upsetting as it breaks the psychological five pound barrier but in fact I was charged only £4.99. This mistake appears to have been head offices who've printed all their Hot Rod box promotional literature with a tower up option at 40p extra and not the 30p which it actually is. I have subsequently noted this has been stickered over.

I left the counter, meal in hand towards the anciliarry items area to furnish myself with napkins, freshen ups, a spork, pepper and a straw. There were however no straws to be found and I was forced to sip from a flimsy cup which of course has lost a lot of its structural integrity when the lid which acts as somewhat of a brace is removed.

I managed to find a clean table and set about unpacking my feast to be greeted not by the gravy I had requested but a pot of coleslaw and neither was there any sign of my cool herb dip. There was one error that worked in my favour but it was an error nevertheless and should not be excused. They had included not one but two hot rods with my meal which I suppose went some small way to compensating me for my suffering.

And the burger? A 5 at best.

In short, a restaurant best avoided