One of the tricky things about fast-food menus is that foods come and go so quickly that most of the time you don’t even realize something is leaving. And there’s nothing worse than pulling up to your go-to drive-thru craving a menu item, just to find out that favorite item has been discontinued.
This is exactly what’s happening in KFC now, the fast-food chain faces backlash for its latest decision to remove some of its longstanding items, including its beloved popcorn chicken combo.
Yes, you read it right, the Kentucky Fried Chicken is “simplifying” its menu, which is essentially a fast-food term for discontinuing certain items.
Yahoo Finance reported the restaurant brand owned by Yum! Brands is removing some things from its menu – wings, popcorn chicken, Nashville hot sauce, strawberry lemonade, and the chocolate chip cookie.
According to the outlet, KFC’s U.S. director Brittany Wilson said removing those items is aimed toward simplifying the menu toward a goal to increase efficiency, make it easier to place an order and focus on innovation.
Wilson told the outlet that the action will “make room for this big spring of innovation that KFC has coming.”
The new, simplified menu will roll out in the coming month and be decided on a case-by-case basis. The items selected are either not available nationally or haven’t shown any growth in sales.
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And apparently, the menu changes are working for some franchise owners. One such person, Justin Stewart, a KFC franchise owner and COO of Stewart Restaurant Group, said that his employees already see the benefit. The workers have been able to cut down the time it takes employees to package up orders as well as improve the drive-thru rates.
“Our team members have been able to package orders more quickly due to having less items on our pack line. As a result, we’ve reduced our drive-through order time by 11 seconds.”
Data from Intouch Insight’s 2022 Annual Drive-Thru Study saw that the average KFC drive-thru customer has to wait about 63.6 seconds for their order. The total service time was roughly four minutes in length, or 239.02 seconds. And there were usually two cars in a line.
Stewart claimed that order accuracy has also improved by simplifying the menu.
“By removing less popular menu items, we’ve improved order accuracy and product availability overall and created space in the back of the house. We’ve also reduced our controllable costs because of less waste, less prep, and less cleanup time.”
Stewart claims that his customers have had a “positive” experience with the menu change because they are able “to navigate the new menu board more quickly and easily.”
In particular, KFC fans were upset about the popcorn chicken getting removed from the menu.
A Twitter user said: “Guess we never going to KFC ever again. The wings and popcorn chicken was the only thing we liked there.”
Another said: “KFC got rid of their popcorn chicken so basically my day is f**kin ruined.”
A user complained about plans to remove the sweet treat.
“They got rid of chocolate chip cookies? The best option [for] saving their restaurant? Well, good luck with that no one’s definitely going to eat at your restaurant now without chocolate chip cookies.”