For those of you who haven’t heard this story yet, several days ago Oprah went on her show and promoted  the fact that on her website you could print out a coupon for a free two-piece meal of Kentucky Grilled Chicken.  In what is being described as a “disaster,” KFC badly underestimated the number of individuals who would attempt to redeem this coupon.  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.  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.  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.  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?   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.  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.  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.

30 Responses

  1. Eick

    @Bear. I’m with you dude. Wrote a post about that 45 minutes ago, set it to go up tomorrow morning.

  2. tim

    i think the real question is why millions of americans are clamoring to get something for free that costs less than four dollars, and are willing to wait several hours to do so.

  3. Brian

    @tim. I wonder the same thing. I love free things as much as anyone else but I’m not going to spend an hour or two of my day waiting for something I could buy later for less than $4.

  4. The Dude

    The original coupon had a loophole. If people had problems downloading they could print off a version with the barcode number 012345678. With this people could just print it out over and over and eat free until the deal ended. So by requiring filling out address they can limit it to 1 or 4 per household.

  5. james

    Once the coupon leaves your hands,how are you going to ever prove you had a coupon? Coupon can get lost in mail or handed in,Unless you are willing to mail it registered & spend some $$$

  6. Jeff C

    I’d like to see who actually gets a rain check in a few months. I’d bet that KFC has told their managers to round file the forms and coupons they collect. Of course only after they sell your name and address to some mailing list. Well done Oprah & KFC!

  7. Nomad

    Kentucky Fried Chicken serving grilled chicken? hopefully they won’t have to change their name to KF&GC (awkward!)

  8. Ed

    I think it is part of a advertising ploy. They think if you wait a long time in a line to get a raincheck, that you will order something.

    By the time you find a parking place to get in to get a raincheck, you have probably spent at least half the the meal price of getting there just to get the raincheck.

    I suggest everyone request a pen and fill it out at the desk right there. Better yet, have them fill it out for you. Poor eyesite…

    I thought about taking a live chicken in and asking them to prepare it.

    Hey make a pillow with the feathers.

    I wonder if they sell the feathers to the pillow companies.

    Maybe you can sell the fearthers as a “tickle your fancy” item on Ebay.

    but wait, did I just do a advertising ploy?

    I BE BAD (Zero)

  9. BOB

    KFC screwed up my order they don’t know thighs from legs I guess. (6 legs are not 6 thighs) well they said come back and they’d give me a 6 piece dinner free so I did and got my raincheck at the same time. I did copy my two coupons (they have have different numbers) for future use if necessary. I was told it was because of coupon fraud that the Opera Website just gave two coupons and people were abusing it by copying theses coupons. I checked and their right my two coupons have two different numbers. So whether a shortage of chicken or coupon fraud probably a smart move by KFC.

  10. Darlene

    I went in yesterday and tried to redeem my coupon and was told that the reason KFC wasn’t accepting the coupons anymore is because, people were printing fake coupons. I asked how? Since they are printed right off the web onto a printer, how can they tell if its fake or not? Then I became one of the victims of ordering food anyway since I wasted my time going there and was hungry as sin. After receiving my chicken, then I was given another reason for the not accepting coupon story, that people were printing too many coupons. If Oprah is paying for the chicken, why should they care how many coupons are printed as long as KFC is getting reimbursed for them. I just don’t get it. Anyway, I tried the grill chicken and to be honest, it was delicious, but I will not be running to KFC anytime soon because of them not honoring the coupon promotion.

  11. adison

    okay, i work at KFC and to be honest, anyone who is angry because they can’t receive their 20th free dinner because of a rain check needs to get a hobby. i have been harassed nonstop for weeks by people either mad they can’t get any more free food or by paying customers angry that they have to wait for 40 other people getting free food before them. to say that you wont eat there because they wont give you a FREE meal just reflects America’s do-only-for-myself views. and the rain checks arent a scam either, kfc lost tons of money over the past two weeks because of the coupons. you can believe me or not, speculate what you want, but they did. not to mention the rioting and mobs that developed outside KFC’s in cities (esp NYC: HUNDREDS of people lined up outside). I live in a well-to-do suburban area outside nyc and i was being reamed by customers, think of those poor employees who had to deal with the kind of mob mentality that happens when hundreds of hungry/angry people are forced to be in close quarters. the rain check IS a way for the company to save money, but it is not a scam. if the company went bankrupt there would not be ANY KFC free or not for ANYBODY. im sick of this crap.

  12. KS

    I feel out the rain check about two week ago. Where is my rain check? Has anyone received a rain check in the mail? I think it is a scam.

  13. Gene

    KFC sucks, I am never coming back to this place. I was one of those people that just left without filing anything out or buying anything after I was told about the raincheck. So instead of gaining a customer, they lost me and everyone I know. Opera should try to help this situation as meny people are pissed off.

  14. Marty

    Hey, if you going to put it out there, be ready for the results. KFC knew the possibilities. Anyone who believes that a company of this size and maturation doesn’t understand marketing, is just ignorant. It may have been risky, but it was not doubt, calculated.

    Someone mentioned exactly what I asked when filing out the rain check form….no receipt and how do I know it is truly going to KFC? This is enough to stop me from patronizing KFC. And I enjoyed the taste of the grilled chicken!!!

    We’ll see if a coupon comes. I submitted 1 in a store and 2 by mail. My son also said he submitted and 4 by mail.

    If I get anything back, I’ll report. 🙂

  15. Erin

    I think KFC is awesome for offering this. Okay so nothing works out perfectly but people it is FREE. the printer thing was a little weird but finally I got three of the four to print. Oh well because it is FREE. With the change I went down to get the raincheck…never was I pressured to buy anything. If people feel they need to buy something it is because they cant keep their wallet closed. The economy is tough right now so I am happy to enjoy a meal like this for free. You can’t just do a redeem it later at this date because the same thing will happen. They need to stagger it obviously to control it better. Yah it could have been thought about and better controlled in th first place but oh well. ITS FREE – I went to the KFC on the way to somewhere else which doesn’t kill my gas and filled out the form. the only thing that I didn’t care for was I didn’t get a receipt for the turning in of my coupons. That would make me feel better..but oh well ITS FREE. Thanks KFC. and while KFC is not the best (I haven’t ate there in ages) I appreciate the thought to add a free DRINK for the inconvenience. which I really wasn’t inconvenienced, because it was FREE to begin with, ya know?

  16. fredct

    Of course the results of this will save them money, but I think you’re missing the other big point of the rainchecks.

    Using the rainchecks, they can send them out slowly, so that not everyone is going on the same day or week. Even if they waited and announced some period a few weeks later, *all* those people would still show up mostly on day 1 of that period.

    The only way to spread out the people is to issue new coupons for varying dates.

  17. buddy

    i never got shit mailed to me.kfc is a rip off and ill never set foot in there as long as i live. popeyes is 10 times better and cheaper anyway.

  18. Jim

    Still waiting for my rain check. Sent it out May 7. It’s been 6 weeks; I think I wasted a stamp.

  19. Gavin

    Seriously why have a go at the guy for being South Africa.. where is the logic in that?

    And secondly stop whining about not getting something for free… it’s pathetic.

  20. Alyssa

    My brother took his rain check in to be redeemed, however the restaurant would not honor it because he detached the coupon from the original letter… The ridges on the coupon suggest that you can and should detach the coupon, however it doesn’t state that you absolutely should not, if you plan to redeem your rain check. … Completely ridiculous. Also, my boyfriend took his rain check in, and the restaurant refused to give him the free drink that is promised in the letter. He had already given the lady his letter, and she refused to let him see it to prove to her that it said he was entitled to a free drink. How awful. Please be advised that your rain checks will come, but it does NOT mean that you will get your meal as promised.

  21. Pat

    I actually received all 4 of my rainchecks and had no problem using them. There was a 2 week period that they could be used and I used them in 2 separate trips. Of course, by now, the ‘newness’ of the grilled chicken has worn off and the quality is sub-par. It was very good and fresh when it first came out (and we always had to wait while they cooked it). Now, it’s always ready when we get there and not fresh. We’re glad to get the 4 free meals, but I think we’re done with this chicken….too bad the quality didn’t last.

  22. Linda

    NEVER recieved mine. I have called and emailed and I don’t hear back from anyone. It is not about getting fro free it is about trying something and maybe buying again later. NEVER will goto KFC again

  23. bob

    I gave my 4 coupons to kfc and never recieved the rain checks. this used to be called bait and switch, first they get you there with a coupon they wont honor but your hungry so you buy a dinner. then they tell you later you have to turn in your coupons to kfc for a rain check so when you return to do that and are hungry so you buy another meal. guess what the rain checks never come so not only did I not get anf FREE meals but I paid for 2 meals. bait and switch still works

  24. Gerald

    KFC………how could you? We r still waiting on our rainchecks. It’s Novmeber now………

  25. Roger Hoeschen

    I never received my coupons for 2 piece chicken meal from the form we took to kfc from oprey show. When are we getting them . Its January and we handed them in to kfc last May. Come on whats the deal!


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