KFC is fighting back against burger chains’ continuing encroachment into its chicken territory. This week the chicken-category leader introduces KFC Original Recipe Bites, an answer to McDonald’s addition of Chicken McBites in January (and the Spicy Chicken McBites currently being promoted) and a shot across the bow of burger chains, warning that it intends to actively fight for a major share of the chicken-snack market.
KFC tried Popcorn Chicken last fall—even promoting them for $2.99—but the product was overshadowed by an avalanche of chicken snack items from the burger brands.
It was last September that BurgerBusiness.com predicted that chicken snacks would be “the next battleground” for QSRs, and it has been just that. In addition to McDonald’s adding Chicken McBites and Spicy Chicken McBites, Burger King has reformulated its Chicken Tenders and added new Chicken Strips, Sonic has revived its moribund Jumbo Popcorn Chicken, Checkers/Rally’s added Chicken Nuggets and Jack in the Box recently joined in with new Chicken Nuggets of its own on its value menu.
KFC’s Bites are being offered in a bundled meal of six all-breast-meat Bites plus a side dish and beverage for $3.99. Both 15- and 30-second commercials from Draftfcb back the introduction.
KFC could bite the burger sector even harder in the near future. In Australia and, recently, in the UK, KFC has placed itself in direct opposition to burger chains with chicken “burgers” of its own. In the UK, for example, KFC recently added a Big Daddy Burger that combines a chicken breast fillet, hash-brown-potato patty, mayo, ketchup, bacon and cheese on a sesame-seed bun.
KFC is expected to introduce a similar “burger” lineup in the U.S., where it already has the KFC Snacker mini sandwich on the menu. McDonald’s could counter with the McWings it already offers in several foreign markets as well as the CBO (chicken, bacon, onion) burger that has sold well across Europe.