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Craving the mouthwatering crispy chicken you can only find at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)? You’re not the only one. This fast-food restaurant became popular thanks to its finger-licking good chicken. Despite its many strengths, the company suffers from several weaknesses and threats, but luckily, each one can be overcome with well-timed opportunities.

Read on to learn more about this popular restaurant in this SWOT analysis of KFC.

Strengths of KFC

Such a largely known and beloved company like KFC boasts many strengths, including a global presence, unique menu options, and a secret even the internet hasn’t exposed.

A well-known hub.

With over 15,000 establishments in 120 countries, KFC is an internationally recognized venue. Surprisingly, in many of these countries, KFC holds more clout for their non-meat menu options.

The powerful corporation behind the KFC brand.

Alongside KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut also share the same corporate owner, Yum! Brands. Since they own so many other fast-food restaurants, it’s clear Yum! Brands have the influence, power, and resources to improve KFC as a restaurant. 

New non-meat options for a growing market.

KFC stands out amongst the other restaurants Yum! Brands own. Despite the appeal of the finger-licking chicken KFC offers, many people are enjoying KFC’s vegetarian options too, particularly vegetarians and vegans. Many other corporations are failing to acknowledge this health-conscious market base, giving KFC an attractive lead in this sector.

A trade secret only a select few know.

To this day, the trade secret behind KFC’s delicious chicken — the “11 herbs and spices original recipe” — remains a mystery to the public. Maintaining private information like today’s world is quite the feat, but it’s not too surprising considering Colonel Sanders wrote the recipe down and locked it away in a vault.

Weaknesses of KFC

Despite its vast reputation, KFC suffers from similar faults of other fast-food restaurants, including having primarily serving high-fat foods and following a questionable franchise management system.

A flawed menu.

KFC succumbs to many common issues shared by other fast-food joints. The menu is high in fats and calories— if you want to go over your daily allotted calories for the day, eat a few pieces of chicken, KFC fries, and boom! Considering how health-conscious the public is these days, greasy chicken isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Questionable franchise system.

KFC follows a franchise management system, meaning each one is individually managed. It’s not uncommon for one KFC to have high reviews while another, just down the street, is collecting bad press. Such a volatile system is prone to operation, production, and poor management qualities, affecting how the public feels about the joint in question, and the overall brand.

Opportunities of KFC

By maintaining the same price point with new menu options, KFC is positioned to enter a new market without sacrificing the beloved chicken-focused meals the company is praised for.

Cheap menu people love.

KFC offers hefty portions for a cheap price. People will always find themselves drawn to unique flavors when it’s time to grab something cheap and easy for dinner.

Primetime for vegetarian meals.

KFC is in the prime spot to dive into the vegetarian market. Although other fast food joints have ventured in, none are as committed as KFC. Still, with other healthier options like Subway, this firm will find itself fighting a tough battle. Subway isn’t even the biggest competitor; McDonald’s also offers healthy, non-meat options. The only difference is, KFC is ready to specialize while other fast-food restaurants are only dipping their toes into this market.

Adding new vegetarian options will improve the relationship between KFC and health-conscious and vegetarian consumers. By creating a new section of the menu for these consumers, KFC will likely see an increase in reputation.

Now, KFC has the perfect opportunity to strengthen its brand worldwide. It’ll still be recognized for its delectable chicken, but also become a pioneer within the non-meat industry.

Threats for KFC

Threats bombard KFC every turn— luckily, this is the case for most fast-food joints. If KFC is proactive now, it can eliminate many of these threats before they transform into a commandeering issue.

The #1 issue: competition.

All fast food chains share a common threat: competition. Despite its popularity, KFC isn’t the leader of fast food. In many ways, it’s not even close. And so it must compete with the bigger and medium-level guys in a crowded industry.

More health-conscious than ever.

The public is taking health into their own hands by understanding how fast food items are made, the number of calories in each option, and seeing through elusive advertisement language. It’s a great stride for consumers but makes companies like KFC nervous.

High raw material costs.

Raw material prices are rising; if KFC wants to remain competitive, it will need to maintain the quality consumers expect without hiking up the prices of its menu.

The franchising mistake.

As discussed in the weaknesses category, the franchise management system is harmful to KFC’s reputation. It only takes one bad location to tarnish KFC’s entire brand. Word of mouth spreads fast, thanks to social media, and it won’t take long for bad reviews and negative feedback to crop up.

SWOT Analysis of KFC: Conclusion

You’ve likely consumed Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) at least once in your lifetime.

It’s survived several recessions, yet remains an underdog in the fast-food industry. It isn’t struggling, but in some places, it’s nearly non-existent, replaced with a similar brand called Mary Brown’s. Perhaps this is because of the faulty franchise system, which makes it difficult to judge the quality of the brand based on how differently each restaurant is managed. Or the health-conscious crowd, who want less greasy chicken and healthier options, is dragging down the business.

Still, KFC isn’t down for the count. It’s made strides in creating non-meat and vegetarian options for consumers. Thousands of locations exist all over the world to this day. And with its herbs and spices recipe still a mystery, the firm feels confident in its tasty chicken. It may not be the best, but it’s still a fan-favorite for many.

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