KFC has been testing Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets in the Charlotte, North Carolina, market since July, and the results have proven successful enough for a nationwide, permanent rollout beginning March 27.
KFC’s new nuggets are made with 100% white meat chicken and the brand’s signature 11 herbs and spices. They start at $3.49 and are available in 5-, 8-, 12- or 36-piece options at participating restaurants. Combo options are also available, including Secret Recipe Fries, a biscuit and medium drink. And, the nuggets will be available in kids’ meals at participating restaurants.
“As the original fried chicken experts, we’re introducing a chicken nugget made the way only KFC can – hand-breaded with our distinctive Original Recipe of 11 herbs and spices,” CMO Nick Chavez said in a statement. “Simply put, you’ve never had chicken nuggets like these – they’re the chicken nugget America deserves, and worth the wait.”
The addition of nuggets comes as KFC removes several items from its menu, including popcorn chicken, which Chavez said was not a true substitute for high-demand nuggets. During a recent interview at KFC U.S. headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, Chavez said over 50% of chicken nugget consumption comes from consumers 25 years old and younger – the very demographic KFC is hoping to reach with its ongoing menu innovation. As such, he believes the nuggets will provide a strong tailwind for the company.
“Frankly, we knew we could do better than the popcorn chicken,” Chavez said. “It’s hard to believe we’ve never had a true nugget. We’ve been ceding nugget buyers to other brands for too long now and these nuggets will give us a way back to families, which is our imperative.”
Chavez added that the nuggets have generated over 10% of the sales mix in the Charlotte test and 60-to-70% incrementality.
"So we’re confident they’ll help us reach younger consumers and be more relevant to them,” he said.
$5 Mac Bowls are back
KFC also announced it’s bringing back the $5 Mac & Cheese Bowl nationwide starting April 3 and for a limited time. The bowls feature KFC’s new nuggets and a three-cheese blend. The brand is bringing back its Nashville Hot sauce for a limited time to complement the Mac & Cheese promotion.
KFC’s Mac & Cheese Bowl debuted in 2019 and returned in July 2022 at the $5 price point. During parent company Yum Brands’ Q3 2022 earnings call, CEO David Gibbs said the value option helped drive a positive 2% same-store sales comp.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]