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Fast Food is Getting Fancy
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Fork and knife required. That’s right, because now fast food has new requirements. It’s upping its game and creating a new category within the restaurant industry. Sure, it’s not going to be the next Michelin-rated spot in town, but it’s definitely not fast food as it’s known to be today. And which brands are playing in this field? Over the past several years, both McDonald’s and Wendy’s have created extensions of their core concept that include a little more fast-casual, fancier-than-fast-food, but less stuffy than fine dining. And it’s worked. Each brand has been given the opportunity to succeed within its industry just on a different level. It makes the brands more relevant and allows the restaurant business to grow with its customers. Now KFC is joining the pack, taking a little detour from what it’s known for and creating success in a new format.

KFC 11 — that’s the name of the new concept. The name stands for the brand’s 11 herbs and spices that it uses on its famous fried chicken. Which is kind of ironic, because this new concept is not about finger-licking chicken. It’s about forks and knives. Rice bowls and salads. Flatbreads and napkins and a little more class. The brand has dropped the iconic Colonel for this concept as it wants differentiation from its original Kentucky Fried Chicken business. It’s a true brand extension with its own strategy and own mission to create success. Thoughts on brand extensions? This isn’t a simple yes-or-no answer, but instead comes down to planning and strategy in order to see success. First, will the brand extension alienate customers from the core concept? If this happens, is that okay? Or is this new extension set to appeal to a different target, one that is not currently in love with an iconic brand?

It’s important for brands to determine if there is truly a need for a brand extension. This isn’t one of those times to go all in just because “everyone else is doing it.” It’s important that the two brands can run at the same time and still see individual success. Otherwise, the diversification merely hurts a brand instead of bringing in some new positive success. Brands must also think about the customers. Do they want a new concept? Are they asking for it? Is it serving a need or purpose that the core brand just doesn’t fulfill? If the new concept confuses customers or they don’t grasp the idea, then the brand extension is merely a flop. However, brand extensions are great for creating relevancy with a historic brand that just can’t do it with its current business. Just make sure to plan, set expectations, and most importantly, provide an explanation for the new brand.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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