KFC Is Sneaking Extra Profit From Bigger Orders

If you’re planning on buying some Hot Wings from KFC in Colorado Springs, Colorado, your cheapest option is to buy them in sets of six no matter how many you want. KFC charges you slightly more per wing as you buy more—”Guess they just hope nobody’s good at quick math,” our reader Jay writes.

(Thanks to Jay!)

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  1. snazz says:

    well the bigger boxes cost more… so of course the price is higher!

  2. XianZomby says:

    YEah. And a double cheeseburger is regularly 99 cents at McDonalds, but a cheesburger costs like 1.30.

  3. smitty1123 says:

    Basic arithmetic FTW? Mmmm, I just got a craving for some popcorn chicken and a side of slaw.

  4. Exek says:

    same with the local McDonald’s and their nuggets buying the dollar menu 4 piece comes out better than buying the 6 or 10 piece.

  5. bohemian says:

    I bet if you order a couple of those six boxes they will try to get you to buy the big pack instead and look at you funny when you don’t want to.

  6. mondomondoman says:

    I hate KFC anyway. I don’t know why people in this town even bother. Theres like a chicken wing place ever mile in Colorado Springs.

  7. Antediluvian says:

    Burger King used to do this too — they might still, I swore off BK/McD’s/Wendy’s a year ago. I would buy two 5 packs of chicken nuggets (10 total), plus soda and fries, for less than the cost of their combo meal with only 8 nuggets.

  8. 8abhive says:

    These guys used to hammer my mailbox with their special savings coupons that listed normal or higher than normal prices.

    That’s one strange and less-than-endearing marketing strategy.

  9. emona says:

    @Exek: I just figured this out, literally, yesterday. I felt like a genius.
    Then I actually ordered it and got charged for a 10 piece. Wha?

  10. vatica40 says:

    @XianZomby: The dollar menu is actually based on store or region or something. In my area the double cheeseburgers are twice the cost of a cheeseburger, but we have the Big and Tasty on the dollar menu instead. Still not too shabby of a deal, but I’d rather have the double.

  11. chutch says:

    @8abhive: You’re that annoying type that generally expects truth in advertising right?

    Honestly, if you have time, this is the best principle for shopping – anywhere. The 100 calorie packs that are getting popular at stores drive me insane. A box of plastic bags and a full size container of said item is enormously cheaper in most situations. My family has times when I know they can’t stand shopping with me. I’ll point out to them how much they’re wasting. This is sad because I’m not even THAT frugal with my money. I just love a good deal!

  12. foxygreen says:

    I worked at KFC when I was in high school and I often noticed that many of their meal deals were cheaper if you bought each item individually. I used to ask my manager why this was the case and I basically got a “how dare you question anything, how dare you do MATH you silly high school student!” sort of answer.

  13. youbastid says:

    @XianZomby: That’s because you get 2 extra slices of bread – and a slice of bread is worth 2x as much as a McDonald’s beef patty.

  14. chrisgoh says:

    So many products are like this. Companies have come to realize that after years of training, people automatically assume they get a better deal when they buy in bulk. Therefore, in order to capitalize on this behavior they actually price the bulk package as a little higher per ounce/count/etc and then make sure that the various sizes are not in even multiples of each other so that the average brain dead person can’t make the calculation to figure out that they actually are getting screwed buying in bulk.

  15. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I think it is a waste to order anything at a fast food joint that isn’t on the dollar/value menu. For instance, Wendy’s I get myself a Cheeseburger Deluxe, the new Double Stack (otherwise a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger), 5 nuggets, and a small Sprite. Plenty of food, less than $5.

  16. ClayS says:

    @mondomondoman:

    KFC makes me ill, but my daughter always begs me to take her there. Popeye’s is much better as far as a chain goes IMO.

  17. timsgm1418 says:

    the biggest ripoff is the 100 calorie pack 3 Musketeers, they are the snack size bars. definitely cheaper to buy a bag of snack size@chutch:

  18. typetive says:

    @timsgm1418: I’ve been blogging about that for about a year! And the worst thing is that people don’t want to buy a pack of 6 snacks size that have 80 calories each and costs 88 cents … instead they want the box that has 7 packs that are 100 calories each and costs $2.99 … because it’s a WHOLE WEEK’s PROGRAM.

    Burger King has the same thing with their Chicken Tenders or whatever they’re called. The dollar menu version is cheaper if you get two than the $2.89 version.

  19. kublaconsumer says:

    16.99/30 is quick math? I’d be faster with a differential equation.

  20. varco says:

    Saw the same thing in Washington state. It’s just another tax on stupid people.

  21. Sinflux says:

    @kublaconsumer: How hard is it to multiply 2.99 x 5?

  22. ShadowArmor says:

    I think the quick way to figure it out is like this:

    30/6 = 5, but 5x $2.99 ($3 rounded) = $15. $15 < $16.99.

    Comparing the 6 to the 20 isn’t as easy. 6 x 3 = 18. 3 x $2.99 is about 9 bucks. So you pay a dollar premium for each of those last 2 wings.

  23. davidc says:

    I used to like KFC as they used to be a decent value for what you got.

    Took my son to one a few months back and was looking at getting a couple of “meals” because they were about the same price as “combos” served at other FF joints.

    Catch 1) They did not include the drink, which they wanted like 1.49 for.

    Catch 2) My son wanted to “corn on the cob” times 2 for his side dishes … sorry, .50 cent upcharge for getting corn on the cob.

    I taught my son a lesson by walking out of the store, and to this day we won’t go back.

    Besides, the portions have all gotten smaller, and the prices have all gone up … they priced themselves out of my consumer dollar .. and I buy lunch every day.

  24. youbastid says:

    @david.c: Being the KFC Connoisseur that I am…multiple items on the value menu do come with drinks. There are a few that aren’t on there that don’t, they usually include 2 sides instead of a drink. And I’ve never been to a KFC that charged you more for the corn…you must have gotten a bad one. I find that their price hikes are pretty on par with the rest of the fast food places.

    I will tell you this – no matter where you are, the portions are pretty much the same, and some have gotten considerably larger. Years ago those mashed potatoes used to come in a little coleslaw cup. Now they come in a bigger size, similar to something you’d get at Boston Market. In my opinion though, they’ve gone downhill since the departure of the Chicken Little :*( . Screw the famous bowl…Patton had it right.

  25. mcjake says:

    Walmart does the same thing with the bulk packaging of Toaster’s Strudel’s

  26. Amelie says:

    Don’t surprise me considering KFC’s history. A friend of mine was interviewing employees for a class-action suit. It seems KFC gave employees about an hours worth of managerial work each week so they could say they were managers and not have to pay them overtime. The saddest thing was that the majority of workers didn’t know they were being screwed.

  27. sly100100 says:

    McDonalds does the same thing with there chicken nuggets.
    You can buy a 10 piece nugget for 3.89 ( I think)And you can buy a 4 piece off the dollar menu. So if you buy 12 off the dollar menu you get 2 more for $3.00 and the 10 piece cost more.
    That doesn’t include the fries and drink either.

  28. witeowl says:

    @ShadowArmor: Wow. That route is not easier for me. I would go this way: @2.99/6 is about 50 cents each. 50 cents times 20 is $10.00, not $10.99. 50 cents times 30 is $15.00, not $16.99.

    But, more importantly, I have to confess that I’d probably never have thought to do the math.

  29. Empire says:

    The worst thing ever was when I went into a McDonalds a few years back and I could get McNuggets, fries and a coke for like $4 or something (can’t remember exactly, long time ago) or just the nuggets for like $5. I was like, “Wait, it costs less if I get the fries and coke I don’t want?” They just stared at me for a minute and then went, “Yep. Guess so.”

    Madness.

  30. rdldr1 says:

    I call this the “fat tax.”

  31. goodkitty says:

    @zouxou: Well, at least they can put the fact that they “managed” the store on their resume?

  32. Phildawg says:

    I immediately look at quantities and try to get to a base number like 1,10,100, etc.

    So when I see 30 for 16.99, I immediately think 5 for 5.00 plus whatever 1.99 split by 3 is. Typically though the rest is consequential as you usually right then are close enough to start making quick assumptions depending on how far off you were from the next even split either in qty or price, here it would be price, so you would think well i could have went 10 for 6 dollars if the price had been 18, but since 16.99 is close to 18, it’s closer to 6.00 per ten.

    Anyways, at my KFC I actually have purchase a bucket of 20 for 8.99 which I did quick math at drive thru and found that best value as the 6 were also 2.99. I got 2 free wings =) Really though one thing to remember is some businesses might try to go for the higher price per qty because you might cause them to run out for the 8-10 minutes and they could lose future sales because of the immediate rush you just put on their ready to serve wing supply. Doubtful they think like that, but in today’s world, buying in quantity is losing it’s value EVERYWHERE.

  33. 60secs says:

    Your best value at KFC is to find the item on the menu with cheapest price per piece of chicken and then upgrade all the wings and drumsticks to breasts for $1 each. Each upgrade will triple the amount of meat for that piece. See

    [www.yum.com]

    Protein (gms)
    EC Chicken-Breast 34
    OR Chicken-Thigh 20
    ECChicken-Thigh 18
    OR Chicken-Drumstick 12
    ECChicken-Whole Wing 12
    ECChicken-Drumstick 12
    OR Chicken-Whole Wing 11

  34. BFIrrera says:

    I don’t remember the exact numbers off the top of my head these days since it’s been over a year since I’ve eaten at a McDonald’s. But, when I did, I usually would order a Big Mac, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, a medium fries and a drink.

    I now forget which version was better, but would always bring a calculator. It was either better to order the big mac meal with the quarter pounder on the side or the quarter pounder meal with the big mac on the side (one of the combos was actually cheaper than buying the three things separately, but the other one was on average about $0.50 more expensive than buying them all separately (I’m pretty sure the more expensive one was the quarter pounder meal)).

    What makes that the most interesting was that if you bought the sandwiches separately just off the menu (no fries, no drinks) they were the exact same price!!

  35. yargrnhoj says:

    If the cashier tries to charge you for the larger one when you ask for two smalls, do what I do. I tell them I am buying them for my kids and they won’t share.

  36. MDSasquatch says:

    Just go to Chik-fil-a; they have the best food, it is always hot, fresh and they always seem like they are happy that you stopped by.

  37. Myron says:

    @MDSasquatch: Except for the fact that Chick-fil-a doesn’t sell chicken wings, that’s a brilliant idea.

  38. Starfury says:

    Around here the McD double cheeseburger: $1. Regular cheeseburger: $.99 I’ve also noticed the $1 small fries are less than half the size of the $2 large fries.

  39. meneye says:

    another reason not to eat fast food. as if I needed one

  40. tande says:

    For awhile I was ordering the big and tasty off the $1 menu at McDonalds but I’d have them hold the mayo, lettuce, and tomato, then add chesse, and mustard.

    QTR Pounder with Cheese for $1.20.

    I never figured out how they could charge $1 for one 1/4 lb hamburger and almost $3 for the one that had less stuff on it. Guess its just the name.

  41. tkozikow says:

    @AlteredBeast: Is that a single meal for one human?

  42. Teh1337Pirate says:

    Can I get 5 orders of the 6 wing bucket?

  43. rmz says:

    @Starfury: That’s the opposite of what’s happening here. In this case, it’s like having a regular cheeseburger being $.99 but two cheeseburgers being $2.50. You pay MORE than the unit price if you get more and don’t bother to do the math.

  44. Javert says:

    The same thing happened at Taco Bell when they started selling 6 and 12 packs in the late 80s. I worked there while in high school. We all knew this. Most of us would ring the customer up for 6 tacos rather than 1 6 pack because this is stupid but (confession time) if the customer treated us like peons we had no qualms about giving them exactly what they ordered or even try to “up sell” them with ‘well instead of 18 tacos, how about 1 6 and 1 12 pack?’ Hey, I was young and idealistic :) Enforcing my own form of social justice.

  45. wcourville says:

    KFC/A&W seems to be a little misleading in other ways too. last time we went they charged 60 cents extra if we wanted mustard on that burger. on another order with a value meal you have a choice of 2 sides or 1 side and a drink but if you choose the 1 side/1drink order they mysteriously leave out the biscuit.

  46. clank-o-tron says:

    FYI, I saw an ad for this today in SoCal… I think this is a national ‘deal’.

  47. mannymix03 says:

    @chrisgoh:

    Exactly, at my theater we offer combos, but they aren’t any cheaper they are only there to show people what they should order. People always think they save when they buy bigger.

  48. FROST1 says:

    The KFC I work at, our hot wings are ALOT cheaper, where the heck was this picture taken at? Canada?

    Our hotwings are 6 for 2.99, 20 for 9.99 and 30 for 14.99

  49. Ragman says:

    WallyWorld lists price per unit, and they still charge more for the larger sizes of some products. I see it on cereal pretty often.

  50. groverexploder says:

    Good for KFC! If the customer can’t be bothered to learn basic math, why should KFC help them?