KFC is not doing anything new by joining the new wave that is plant based meat that is being thought about about by almost all restaurants that are planning to make these additions to their menus.
The US division head, Kevin Hochman, said that the company does not have any plans to test vegan substitutes at this moment however, he does have meetings planned with several relevant people to learn more about plant-based meats.
According to Hochman, the Yum brands owned company is in an “exploration phase right now,” joining the likes McDonalds and Chick Fil-A.
Some other chains seem to have already started serving plant-based beef and sausage products, but KFC, like McDonald’s, is waiting to learn more about the long-term benefits of plant based meats for their profits.
“For us, it’s really about understanding how does it evolve? Is chicken as popular as it seems beef will be? Is it something that would actually delight our customers or not?” Hochman said in an interview.
In 2014, KFC began staging a turnaround, focusing its efforts on improving value for the customer. Its $5 Fill Up meal launched that same year and helped KFC see positive same-store sales growth for the next five years. This year, thanks to the success of the combo meal, KFC is expected to open more stores than it has closed for the first time since it began its comeback.
“To this day, it is a huge part of our business and why our core customer comes back,” Hochman said.
On the other hand, vegan meat alternatives tend to be more expensive, and restaurants usually pass along the higher cost to consumers. While that might mean that Kentucky Fried plant-based chicken would not appeal to the core customer, it could bring in new ones.
“There are some people today who don’t eat chicken, but if we had an alternative protein product would they come into a KFC? That’s really the $64,000 question,” Hochman said.