Like many companies, KFC has decided to lend a hand in these trying times, and it’s doing so by giving away one million pieces of chicken. Where is this chicken going, and to whom? Well, KFC hasn’t decided yet. Every area of the country is facing a different sort of crisis, and the best people to decide what a community needs are the members of the community itself. So, according to a press release, franchisees are being offered a sort of blank chicken check, with the instruction that each location should distribute the crispy fried goods into the hands that need it most. In southern Indiana, this meant delivering 1,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers. In Kansas, the company’s largest franchisee is feeding the essential workers who are keeping this country going. Some of KFC’s smaller, family owned-and-operated locations (which make up the majority of KFC’s restaurants) have been delivering meals to COVID-19 testing sites and hospitals and have been sending free deliveries to first responders like paramedics.
This million-chicken bonanza is one of several initiatives that KFC and its parent company, Yum! Brands, have rolled out over the past few weeks. On March 13, KFC announced that employees at all corporate-owned locations will have unlimited paid sick leave if they are affected by COVID-19. On March 20, it donated $400,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, which provides food to children facing food insecurity. Earlier this week, the CEO of Yum! Brands (also the parent company of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) announced he will be forgoing his annual salary and will be distributing the money to store managers instead. The company has also founded the Yum! Brands Foundation Global Employee Medical Relief Fund, which will provide hardship grant opportunities for team members of all restaurants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Yum! has also granted its franchisees a 60-day grace period on fees and royalties in the hopes that they can better adjust their business models to the new economy. None of us knows what that new economic landscape looks like yet, but in the meantime, a chicken windfall is a novel way to give back to the community.