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KFC Debuts Grilled Chicken with National Ads

From Elizabeth Licata of Nation's Restaurant News (www.nrn.com): NEW YORK (April  14, 2009) KFC officially unveiled its long-awaited Kentucky Grilled Chicken on Tuesday, in a nationwide product rollout that brand parent Yum! Brands Inc. has said will help spark sales at the chicken chain.

Four years in development, the grilled chicken product is intended to provide more healthful offerings to customers and increase visits among consumers who think of KFC as a fried-chicken-only restaurant. The grilled chicken is priced the same as KFC’s fried chicken, and the chain’s well-known buckets can be mixed with both grilled and fried menu items.

“It will help sales,” KFC franchisee Ric Rozier said in New York at the unveiling of Kentucky Grilled Chicken. “It is designed to increase trial among new customers and keep our regular customers happy with a new product.”

Rozier, who as vice president of operations at GDR Associates Inc. operates three restaurants in Westchester, N.Y., has been offering the product for two weeks, but he declined to give any sales results.

To spread the word about the new product, KFC will offer free samples nationwide on Monday, April 27. Consumers who stop by any KFC throughout the day for “UNFry Day” will receive a free piece of Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

The product launch also will be supported by a nationwide advertising campaign created by DraftFCB Chicago urging customers to “UNThink what you thought about KFC.” TV spots feature endorsements from The Food Network’s Sandra Lee and TV One’s chef G. Garvin. A website, www.unthinkkfc.com, also has been developed.

“The new Kentucky Grilled Chicken is delicious,” Lee said. “In addition to being a better-for-you option, I love that moms can swing by the drive-thru of their local KFC and pick up an entire meal that is high in quality and taste.”

With between 70 and 180 calories and 4 to 9 grams of fat, depending on the piece, Kentucky Grilled Chicken is positioned as an option that will draw health-conscious consumers back to KFC. Original Recipe fried chicken has between 110 and 370 calories and 7 to 21 grams of fat per piece.

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