After much speculation, KFC finally unveiled its Louisville fast-casual prototype, "KFC eleven" over the weekend, and the results sound intriguing.
Located in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, conveniently close to parent company Yum! Brands’ headquarters, the Colonel Sanders-free standalone restaurant is the first one of its kind. Geared toward a younger, hipper demographic, KFC eleven’s menu largely revolves around their new boneless chicken: either crispy or grilled chicken can be added to a sandwich, rice bowl, flatbread, or salad, with prices ranging from $4.99 to $6.89, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Meals include crispy bites or boneless chicken paired with sides including waffle fries, macaroni and cheese, garlic smashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, or a side salad, and drinks include lemonade, smoothies, and iced drinks. They’re also using Square to accept mobile payments.
"We took a look at the marketplace, at KFC and at evolving consumer needs, and what we wanted to do was design a new concept that could enable us to meet those changing consumer needs," David Menis, senior manager of concept development for Louisville-based KFC, told NRN. "We looked at menu, service, technology, the asset and everything, and asked… how could we leverage the strength of KFC and the taste of our chicken to put together a package that’s compelling for consumers?"
It’s unknown if KFC is planning on opening more elevens, if they hope to replace existing KFCs with ones more closely resembling this, or if this will be a one-and-done standalone restaurant. It appears as if they’re using this as a testing ground for future innovations, and to determine just how far the boneless variety can take them. "What we expect from this 'innovation restaurant' is to be able to better understand boneless chicken and what consumers are looking for out of that, and then transition those learnings back to our 4,500 restaurants," Menis continued.