- KFC will add chicken nuggets to its menu on a permanent basis beginning March 27, the chain announced Thursday morning.
- The nuggets were first tested at restaurants in North Carolina, beginning with locations adjoining Atrium Health maternity centers, according to WCNC. KFC said the tests of its nuggets were “wildly successful.”
- KFC framed the nugget launch as the opening of a chicken nugget war, reminiscent of the so-called chicken sandwich wars that boosted sales at participating QSRs over the last few years.
KFC sought to differentiate its product from the nuggets offered by other QSR competitors, according to its press release. Parent company Yum Brands is likely searching for ways to boost traffic and buzz around KFC, given that the brand’s U.S. sales were flat in 2022.
“People have been living in a nugget blandemic and settling for the same mediocre nuggets for far too long. The fried chicken experts are empowering America to break up with bland and end it with cookie-cutter shapes,” the company said in a statement.
The nuggets will start at a $3.49 price point and come in sets of 5, 8, 12 and 36. Value pricing and menu changes have been important to Yum in recent quarters, as customers pressured by menu price inflation seek deals and novelty.
“There's a little bit more interest in value, which our brands are perfectly positioned to deliver on,” Yum CEO David Gibbs told analysts on the company’s Q4 2022 earnings call. “Taco Bell with the Cravings Menu and $2 Burrito, the new Melt product at Pizza Hut, which is screaming value. KFC just rolled out wraps... at a great value price point.”
KFC is complimenting its permanent addition of nuggets with other LTOs and promotions. The brand brought back its infamous Double Down Sandwich, which uses fried chicken in lieu of buns, for a four-week period beginning in early March. In the same press release announcing the nuggets, KFC said it was bringing back its $5 Mac & Cheese Bowl, now topped with nuggets and Nashville hot sauce, for a limited time beginning April 3.
Other major brands are experimenting with new menu items or collaborations to drive traffic. Chick-fil-A is testing a plant-based sandwich in Colorado and the Carolinas. McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme have expanded their donut partnership to 160 McDonald’s stores in Kentucky. Domino’s added tater tots in a permanent menu move. Papa Johns’ menu offerings and value deals have been particularly successful at driving traffic with lower-income customers in recent years.