KFC Canada Puts Beer on the Menu

In Canada, chicken lovers who enjoy their favorite dish, the cooked to KFC perfection, are getting themselves a new bubbly beverage option in addition to the usual menu of sodas or juices. Beer and chicken sound like a great combination, and KFC Fresh in Toronto is treating customers to just that.

Pairing rich, well-prepared and juicy fried chicken to malty, hoppy, citrusy or semi-bitter beer is often a gastronomic delight to many people. It’s the usual serving when watching a favorite sport alone, chatting with a pal or getting together with friends and family. KFC, a popular go-to chain for the most famous fried chicken in Canada and around the globe, is giving customers the same experience of delicious food with a touch of excitement by serving up cold liquor.

By the fall, cold beer bottles in four varieties will be served for those who want a kick with that chicken treat: Coors Banquet, Heineken, Molson Canadian and Coors Light

By going the “beer with your chicken” route, KFC Fresh – which was initially launched as KFC Select – is deviating from the old-style fast food approach. The giant chicken franchise is on a mission to please consumers who now seem to be into “fast-casual”eating, as popularized by rising stars Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Completing the new strategy, KFC Fresh has also adjusted its menu to include burritos, salads and rice bowls, coupled with extra topping options.Altering the menu is expected to drive sales at the 663 outlets, which reached a sum of $630.5 million in 2013.

Competition in the Canadian quick-serve food shop arena is stiffening, driving Tim Hortons restaurant to come up with new features that franchisees can showcase, such as beer taps, gift walls with wine carafes, as well as beer glasses.

Pairing KFC chicken with the perfect pint for the first time is also projected to appeal to Canadian customers, in the same way that McDonald’s European franchises are luring diners by serving beer to the German market and including wine and beer in French stores’ menus.

The Financial Post details the innovative approach to fastfood dining by one of the world’s leading chains:

“We think that beer is a nice complement to our food,” David Vivenes, chief marketing officer for KFC Canada, said Wednesday of KFC Fresh, which debuted as a test concept last fall and opens its second outlet in Toronto [last July 24th].

“People want to spend more time in restaurants with this type of atmosphere,” Mr. Vivenes said. “Having that complement [the food] makes sense; ultimately what people decide to spend is up to them.”

KFC Fresh is a restaurant and also a place where we innovate and learn. The test concept is very important to us, to find ways to innovate and take the brand forward,” Mr. Vivenes said. The company has no plans to bring liquor licenses to its traditional KFC locations he said. But menu ideas have already begun migrating from the KFC Fresh concept to traditional stores, with the double-decker “Big Boss” sandwich showing up on standard KFC menus.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

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