KFC parent Yum tests new chicken restaurant

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BY CANDICE CHOI

AP Food Industry Writer

As KFC struggles in the U.S., parent company Yum Brands is testing a new chicken restaurant called Super Chix.

A website for the restaurant in Arlington, Texas, shows a menu that seems positioned as a more premium offering than KFC, in line with the trend toward foods people feel are higher in quality. The menu is fairly simple and lists a chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, fries and custard. Toppings include kosher pickles, jalapenos and sweet pickles, while sauces include smoky honey pepper and Sriracha sweet and sour.

The website also notes that, “Our chicken is marinated daily in our kitchen, then hand-breaded and cooked in 100% refined peanut oil. No MSG, HFCS or phosphates.” It refers to its sandwich as “The Last True Chicken Sandwich.”

Virginia Ferguson, a spokeswoman for Yum, downplayed the suggestion the restaurant was being tested for the U.S. market.

“This is an exploratory concept that may in the future be considered for international purposes,” Ferguson said in an email. She added that the company will be exploring other concepts for “international purposes” in the near future, such as a “Banh Shop” that sells Asian subs.

The test comes after KFC ceded its position as the No. 1 chicken chain to Chick-fil-A in 2012 in terms of sales volume, according to food industry researcher Technomic. Although KFC has many more locations than Chick-fil-A, its sales have declined despite new menu items, such as boneless chicken pieces that were touted in “I Ate the Bones” commercials. Last year, U.S. sales at established KFC locations fell 5 percent.

Yum, based in Louisville, Ky., has also been testing a higher-end concept called “KFC eleven” that has a similar feel to Chipotle and does away with mentions of founder Colonel Harland Sanders.

KFC had about 4,500 U.S. locations last year.

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