Red Rooster’s new menu item sparks chicken war
Look out Colonel Sanders, there's a new rooster in town.
Red Rooster is ruffling feathers by taking on KFC - adding Crunchy Fried Chicken to their menu.
Their fried chicken items will be rolled out nationally from today - a week ahead of the NRL season kick-off where they sponsor the Sydney Roosters.
Director of Marketing Ash Hughes told News Corp Australia the decision to add the fried option - which had been trialled in 100 stores - had been part of their transformation to being a brand that offers more "treat and indulgence" meals.
Mr Hughes, who previously worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken, said the big difference with their offering is that it is made with fresh chicken in stores where it is marinated for 12 hours, before being battered and cooked in store.
"We've been entrenched in being a brand that is mum's helper with a roast chicken for so long, but we decided we needed to expand our range," Mr Hughes said.
He said they had gone to great lengths to create their recipe and tested multiple seasonings, brining processes, cooking temperatures and oils.
"We tried hundreds of fried chicken options in the US and then developed our own interpretation to bring to Australia," he said.
"We do not use frozen chicken pieces. It is not spicy - it's just crunchy. But we will expand on our flavour innovation as we go."
He also rejected suggestions they were trying to copy their competition.
"We like to do something that is distinctively us, not be a copycat," he said.
"We don't have plans to create a bucket full of crispy fried chicken for example.
"It will take time to roll out across our stores. For those who love fried chicken, we say give it a go."
The move comes as a recent IBIS World report into takeaway chicken shops in Australia found industry players have been changing their menus by offering more health-conscious meals and grilled chicken products.
But convenience still drives demand for such fast foods that replace home-cooked meals.
With a market share of 23.3 per cent, the report states Red Rooster's parent company Craveable Brands has faced "intensifying industry competition" which has caused
company profitability to fluctuate over the past five years.
"Like many fast-food providers, increased competition from new forms of fast food has
constrained Craveable Brands' industry-related revenue over the period," it stated.
"However, the company's focus on home delivery, which is considered a major growth area, and the expansion of its delivery offerings through Red Rooster ... has helped somewhat offset the company's losses over the past five years."
Queensland University of Technology retail expert Gary Mortimer said while there is an "indulgent element" that works for fast food chains, moving away from one's original product can be risky.
"I always say stick to your knitting, if you try to replicate what others are doing you will draw comparisons," he said.
"But if you're able to communicate your point of difference and do comparative advertising to inform customers, it will work.
"The art is in the message."
Where you can get Crunchy Fried Chicken:
NORTH LAKES DTR
CANELAND DRIVE THRU
CANELAND FOOD COURT
PAKENHAM CARDINIA LAKES
Originally published as Red Rooster's new menu item sparks chicken war