Yum Brands, which owns KFC, is quietly testing a single store in Arlington, Texas, that appears to be in direct competition with Chick-fil-A, Ad Age and other outlets note. Super Chix offers up "hand-breaded," MSG-, HFCS-, and phosphate-free chicken sandwiches and tenders, toppings like pickles and jalapenos, and signature sauces like honey mustard and Sriracha sweet and sour. Oh, and the store, which opened this month, is not referencing its relationship to KFC at all.
A restaurant industry analyst says that's likely because Yum wants to "start free and clear of all perceptions of all existing brands," whether positive or negative. The move takes advantage of a trend toward "premiumization" of menu items, another expert says. As for whether more stores will eventually open, a spokesperson tells CNBC the restaurant "is not being considered to go up against US competitors," but is being tested for the international market. The move comes as KFC struggles, having ceded its position as No. 1 chicken chain by sales volume to Chick-fil-A in 2012, the AP reports. (Yum is also testing a fancier version of KFC in Kentucky.)