KFC’s Double Down a flop

27 Jul

I’m playing a bit of catch-up today, but I know there are many readers of this blog out there who will find this news important: if you’re waiting for KFC’s legendary Double Down “sandwich” to expand its way out of the United States, don’t hold your breath. That’s because, despite some serious media attention a few months ago when it launched, the bunless chicken monstrosity isn’t selling very well.

David Novak, CEO of KFC owner Yum Brands (no relation to me, as I’m sure someone would ask), reported a couple of weeks ago that, despite being a “big eat,” its sales have been “immaterial.” KFC sold about 10 million units of the Double Down, which features bacon, cheese and sauce sandwiched between two chicken breasts, since its U.S. launch in April.

The company didn’t spell out what percentage of sales the Double Down amounted to, but at least one analyst figured it accounted to about 5%. For a new product to be considered a hit, sales had to be above 10%, he said.

The Double Down got a ton of attention when it was launched, but it now looks like it was the wrong kind of attention. The kind of “oh my god that’s disgusting” attention that generally doesn’t bode well financially. In retrospect, the company tried to spin it as a positive story – KFC was only supposed to sell it till May but extended its offer through the summer because of “popular demand.” Obviously, Yum was trying to cover up the fact that the sandwich was selling poorly.

Folks connected to John Bitove, the entrepreneur who owns KFC restaurants here in Canada, had said he was watching to see how the Double Down performed in the U.S. before bringing it north. Sadly, for fans of really nasty fast food, its performance there doesn’t bode well for a Canadian debut.

Ah Double Down… we never even knew ya.

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Posted by on July 27, 2010 in food, kfc


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