KFC Bets Americans Want Faux Fried Chicken


Honorary Master
Jun 15, 2011
As president of KFC in the U.S., Kevin Hochman thinks a lot about the future of fried chicken in America. And right now plants — yes, plants — are taking up more of his time.

Hochman runs a division of Yum! Brands with 4,000 stores that has faced multiple hurdles over the past year. There’s the continued strength of rival Popeyes, poultry shortages and the disruption caused by Covid-19. However, the chain has largely come through the pandemic unscathed — maybe even stronger as same-store sales jumped 11% last quarter.

But the boom in faux meat, especially among young Americans, offers another challenge and opportunity, and Hochman is preparing KFC for what looks like an inevitable future of fake chicken going mainstream. The chain has tested a plant-based nugget from Beyond Meat, but so far hasn’t taken it nationwide. And its ambitions are now bigger than that, pushing to bring a faux option that replicates a piece of fried chicken.