For those of you who haven’t heard this story yet, several days ago Oprah went on her show and promotedÂ the fact that on her website you could print out a coupon for a free two-piece meal of Kentucky Grilled Chicken.Â In what is being described as a “disaster,” KFC badly underestimated the number of individuals who would attempt to redeem this coupon.Â According to one report:
Restaurants summoned extra help to keep pace with the crowds, yet some customers waited an hour and a half as the chain gave away millions of the meals Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday.
Overwhelmed KFC locations eventually began refusing to take the coupons, prompting reports of sit-ins.Â KFC ultimately determined that they were unable to handle the current demand. Yesterday, KFC’s President, Roger Eaton, posted a YouTube video telling consumers the chain would no longer be accepting the coupons, but customers could come into a store and exchange the coupon for a “rain check.”
First off, yes you heard that correctly, the President of KFC is most definitely not an American by birth.Â In fact, he was born in South Africa. Now normally I could care less about the country of origin for a company’s President, but uh, that’s not really who you expected to be representing KFC is it? Plus he sounds an awful lot like Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. I’m not sure if this guy is apologizing to me or urging me to go taunt a Wallaby. I kept expecting to hear him proclaim “CRI-KEY!” at any moment.
Now you might be thinking that if KFC can afford to give everyone a rain check, this must not be a cost issue, so why couldn’t they just give away the free chicken this week? Well according to Business Insider, KFC is currently “scrambling to source more chicken,” reporting:
A franchisee today told me KFC is projected to strip their entire supply chain of bird by Saturday.
Yikes. Looks like they had no other choice but to stop accepting these coupons or all their franchises would have been fresh out of chicken.
So KFC couldn’t accept the coupons at this moment in time. Fair enough.Â But that being said, if KFC really wanted everyone who had a coupon to get the opportunity to eat Kentucky Grilled Chicken for free, why didn’t they simply pick a one-week period a month or two from now and announce that the coupons would be honored at that time?Â Â You might be wondering why KFC would want to spend all the time and money necessary to mail out those rain checks and take care of all the that paper work.Â I’ll tell you why: because they are trying to save money.
The old “rain check” routine is one of the BIGGEST scams around. If you want to cash in on your free food, they make you come down to a KFC, fill out a form, give it to the manager, then 6 weeks later they mail you a rain check coupon.Â That’s a pretty big hassle for $4 in free chicken. Plus, a lot of people feel guilty coming in just to fill out a rain check form, so they’ll pick up some food while they are there.
KFC knows full well that this system will result in having to give away FAR less free food than if they simply honored the coupons during a future 2 week period. So why are they trying so hard to save money and prevent consumers from getting the free food they were promised?
Lame KFC. Very lame.