Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hot Shots Box Meal, new fries and Kream Balls

It's been slow on the news front recently, but like London buses, you wait ages for one and then 3 come at once. All of a sudden we've been inundated with a bevy of new menu additions and updates, so of course it was time to dispatch a trusty KFB reporter and get a full run-down on the changes.

The first news item concerns the release (or re-release) of the Hot Shots Box Meal, which we can only assume is the most recent TLO. The deal includes a Zinger burger, usual combo of fries, drink and side, plus 3 boneless "Hot Shots", which are essentially giant popcorn chicken with a "fiery marinade" and ETC (extra tasty crispy) coating.

The second story is a real milestone - new fries! KFC UK have apparently been hard at work testing and surveying the British public in an effort to improve on their current offering, the result: "you asked so we changed them". The new fries are described as being crispier and an improvement, but we'll be the judge of that. Finally, the third story, is more of a discovery than an announcement. A KFB researcher recently spotted the existence of a new dessert product - the KFC Kream Ball. Either we missed the press release for this one or it was released under the radar to gauge opinion - either way, it's available now at certain branches, so it's about time we gave it the once over.

First up, Hot Shots. Fans of the old Crispy Strips (RIP), Zinger burger and Hot Rods will love these little nuggets thanks to the light but spicy coating, which gives a fairly distinctive flavour compared to the traditional Original Recipe coating. I wouldn't describe them as particularly spicy (as the Hot Shots ad would have you believe) but they do have a very subtle kick. Overall, I'd say the Hot Shots box meal is worth a go, especially for boneless fans who want a bit of zing.

Next up, new fries. On first inspection, they certainly do look crispier and also have a thinner cut. They look a lot more like McDonald's or Burger King fries now, though nowhere near as crispy as BK and not quite as thin as McD's. Unfortunately, I can't say they are an improvement. It might just be that the particular batch of fries I was given had been sat around for a while (they were a little cold) but they were certainly no crispier than the old fries...nor did they taste any different. In fact I could tell no discerning difference between the new and old fries, expect that they are now smaller. We'll be investigating this further by testing a fresher batch soon.

Finally, the KFC Kream Ball. Ordering made me feel a little ridiculous (not sure if the marketing team were having an off day why they named this) and even caused a little giggle from my server. I opted for the chocolate version which consists of Mr. Whippy style ice cream, topped with an indulgent chocolate sauce and small chunks of chocolate, served in a transparent plastic ball with a nifty little KFC branded spoon. The ice cream was very good and chocolate sauce generously applied throughout, even at the bottom, which was a nice touch and made the last few mouthfuls a treat rather than a disappointing finish. The Kream Ball isn't anything particularly special but it's a good competitor to the McFlurry - I'd like to see more options for toppings in the future, potentially with chocolate bar brands like the ones found in Krushems.

The Hot Shots Box Meal and Kream Ball are decent enough (though not particularly exciting), but the jury is still out on wether the new fries are really an improvement. It is, however, encouraging to see KFC responding to customer feedback, something that we'd like to see more of in the future.