The KFC Double Down: What A Restaurant Does When It Gets Desperate

It seems like the best promotional campaigns for KFC in the past few years have been on South Park, and that’s despite the fact that Cartman is the chain’s most vocal supporter. An AdAge article today points out that Chick-Fil-A has been eating KFC’s lunch for a while now, and so far every stunt KFC has pulled–name changes, PR-engineered recipe events, botched giveaways, getting Oprah’s blessing–hasn’t stopped the restaurant from losing customers.That’s right: your lack of interest in KFC is what created this bundle of cheesy fried-fried in the first place.

KFC is still the leader in the fast-food chicken race, but Chick-Fil-A has been gaining fast. Last year KFC sales dropped 6% to $4.9 billion, while Chick-Fil-A’s sales increased 9% to $3.2 billion. In fact, every one of the chains listed in the article increased sales in 2009 except for KFC.

So will the Double Down finally reverse the trend? Or is it yet another weird menu option that might give existing customers more options but fail to draw in new ones?

And if it doesn’t work, what will KFC do next? [Cue ominous music as camera zooms slowly in on a live chicken on a KFC counter.]

“KFC’s Stunts Make Nightly News but Don’t Stop Sales Slide” [AdAge]