KFC Sued Over Shift From Fried to Grilled

Franchise owners want to keep focus on Original Recipe products
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2010 6:54 AM CST
A fried chicken meal is seen at a KFC restaurant in Somerville, Mass., Tuesday, July 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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(Newser) – It's not called Kentucky Grilled Chicken, and a group of KFC franchise owners would like to keep it that way: Determined to keep "fried" the focus, they've sued the company for promoting grilled over traditional options. KFC "appears to believe that the future lies with grilled chicken rather than fried Original Recipe or Extra Crispy chicken products," say the franchisees in a suit filed this week over who controls KFC's advertising, reports the Washington Post.

Lawyers for the KFC National Council, a group composed of both franchise and company members, say that in 2008, under a new president, execs began ignoring franchisees' input and adopted a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. And though grilled chicken raked in close to $1 billion in its first year, they say franchise sales are down. The suit maintains that “a significant portion of advertising dollars should be spent promoting original recipe” and want a judge to rule that the council “has ultimate authority” setting the ad policy. KFC called the lawsuit "baseless" in a written response yesterday.

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