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KFC's largest franchisee KBP Brands will expand pilot test of Funnel Cake Fries

Now KBP Brands is expanding the offering to 77 KBP-owned KFC locations, including ones in the St. Louis area.
KFC patrons have started pairing Funnel Cake Fries with fried chicken, creating their take on chicken and waffles.

When KBP Brands started testing Funnel Cake Fries at four local KFCs in the fall, the new menu item shattered its expectations.

"We more than doubled our daily projections," said Tonya Mangels, vice president of marketing activation for KBP Brands.

Less than two weeks into the six-to-eight-week pilot, the Overland Park, Kansas-based franchisee temporarily ran out. And it knew it was onto something. Now KBP is expanding the offering to 77 KBP-owned KFC locations in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Omaha, Nebraska, markets, as well as in Northwest Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma. 

KBP is Louisville-based KFC's largest franchisee. It owns a mix of roughly 880 Taco Bell and KFC locations and expanded to Arby's last year, snapping up 120 locations. It ended 2021 with $1.32 billion in revenue. KFC and Taco Bell (along with Pizza Hut and Habit Burger Grill) are owned by Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM).

KBP isn't a stranger to innovation.

"KBP has a history of raising our hand to test or bring forward ideas that we think have great potential," she said.

In 2017, for example, it debuted an upscale KFC/Taco Bell combo at 7100 W. 119th St. in Overland Park. It looks more like a chic coffee shop than a quick-service restaurant, and it has additional perks, such as a dessert bar, a fountain machine dedicated to craft soda brand Stubborn Soda and a small retail area where patrons can buy KFC and Taco Bell merchandise. At the time, KBP spent $3 million on the renovation versus the typical $200,000 investment. 

Click here to read the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.


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