Tuesday, 8 March 2011

KFC AM: a tale of shattered dreams

Breakfast: the most important meal of the day. KFC: the most significant thing to happen to the out and about dining experience since man first developed the sandwich. You’ll have understood our joy then upon first discovering that KFC was running an ops shakedown for a breakfast menu at their flagship Marble Arch outlet. You see, KFC has been slow to innovate of late, resulting in slight variations on existing burgers, different ways to fold a wrap or at worst, the mere addition of an alternate sauce in a long established product. The promise then of a full new menu was so exciting that we naturally had to cover it here at KFB, twice.

KFC AM as it was known was an exciting and boundary-pushing way to start to the day. Eggy bread sandwiches, breakfast wrapstars, grilled(!) tomato ketchup, waffles, porridge and the pièce de résistance, chicken sausages, all featured on the first iteration of the menu. In total around 12 new menu items appeared over the course of the first year. The Colonel had found a way to make breakfasts not only different, not only to contain chicken (and no, eggs don’t count) but most importantly of all: a way to ensure they were as delicious as his long-established lunch and dinner time favourites.

So what of it I hear you ask? Why is my favourite blog referring to KFC AM in the past tense when I saw it advertised on my way to work this very morning? Well, my chicken-loving readers, KFC AM is dead to us. So far removed is the current iteration of the menu that we feel ashamed to associate it with the Colonel. All that innovation, that spark, that unique taste and yes, even that chicken has now been removed. What we are left with is the same bacon rolls, (pork!) sausage sandwiches and scrambled egg that you could find at any sub-par greasy spoon. The wrapstar? A distant memory. The breakfast box meal? Moved on to a happier place. In fact, every uniquely-named product from the original line-up bar the Platter has been removed. And that Platter - it's replaced eggy bread with toast and chicken sausages with Cumberland. Just take a look back at the original line up if you think you can bear the pain and then compare it to the shameful 'range' now available.

We understand that the British public might not have been ready, that they probably voted with their wallets and left us with this. Colonel, we salute you for trying something so unlike the rest, but what we can’t commend you for is not sticking to your guns and pushing harder, adding a little more to your marketing budget, running free trials to help people get over the chicken sausage fear.

You had a chance to be so different, Colonel, so special. But all you’ve left us with is a hole in our hearts once filled with eggy bread, Southern-style buttery breakfast buns and chicken sausages. A hole so large that even a Hot Rod box meal couldn’t fill it. Colonel, you’ve let us down.


paulbot said...

I concurr

Shanine said...

I never got a chance to try the Marble Arch trial. I was rarely on Oxford St that early and it didn't seem worth making the journey for.
I don't think experimenting with a menu in ONE branch was ever going to work, even now their standard breakfast menu is served in about five restaurants.
Imagine if had been the case with something like the mini fillet burger; trialling it in one restaurant would not have been a success and I think KFC are being naive if they think this will be. I'd much rather they just stuck to their 11am opening time if they can't be bothered to offer breakfast everywhere.

ALbad said...

Have you tried the latest iteration of the breakfast menu, Shanine? What do you think?

Shanine said...

I haven't, I'm afraid! I no longer live in London(now Southampton if you care so no access to the Breakfast menu) but to be honest whilst the lack of chicken element is disappointing it seems less heavy than the previous menu. Though I completely agree; you can get a bacon roll and cup of tea anywhere and frankly a Bacon and Egg McMuffin seems a more attractive breakfast option.

The previous menu was interesting but it seemed very 'heavy' for the first meal of the day, and I speak as someone who has broken their fast with a Colonel's Meal or Toasted Twister in the past.

I do wonder how many were turned off by it in a "Can eat that at 8am?" way and I suspect a lot of those products would have done okay as a lunchtime food.

Sorry for ramble.

ALbad said...

Interesting points, Shanine. Maybe that's part of the reason it didn't do well. Having tried a few of the items though I can tell you that they weren't all overly heavy - all depended on what you went for. The Challenger Box Meal however...

Lee said...

My god, that A.M Wrapstar looks bloody lovely! Shame I never got the chance to taste it. KFC is the best fast food place out of all the main ones, but why oh why can't they come up with something new and exciting instead of the same old thing each month... I remember when the Tower Burger was first launched... It was so exciting and I was in love forever! Sort it out Colonel!