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KFC Retires Colonel Sanders

In a new era of fast food marketing, the Colonel is not invited to KFC's hipper and healthier-looking stores.

Colonel Sanders

Photo: Michael Verhoef (Flickr)

After undergoing cosmetic changes in 2006, the Colonel has been dropped altogether from KFC's latest rebranding effort.

Colonel Sanders has retired from his post on the signs of newer Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

Modern Fast Food

KFC, in an effort to re-brand and update, has announced it will create a more upscale chain called “KFC Eleven” without the iconic Southern gentleman. The name is a reference to the 11 herbs and spices in KFC’s original recipe.

The move comes in response to changing tastes. Young consumers are shunning fast food for “fast casual” chains, like Chipotle and Panera, while health-conscious consumers associate cartoons and symbols, like the Colonel, with unethical marketing.

KFC Eleven will offer flatbreads, rice bowls and only boneless chicken.

Mascots And Marketing

KFC is by no means the first fast food restaurant to undertake rebranding efforts in the last few years. Burger King has already dropped its iconic King after market research found that consumers thought he was “creepy.” Wendy’s has also updated its character.

Nonprofit groups have called upon McDonald’s to retire Ronald McDonald, the happy clown that has served as a mascot for decades. Groups say it’s irresponsible to market unhealthy food to children using friendly characters.

McDonald’s has retired Ronald’s sidekicks, like the Hamburglar and Grimace, and Ronald has taken a backseat in modern marketing.

Read More:

  • Hamburglar, Spuds, the Colonel retire as fast food grows up (CNBC)
  • KFC drops bones, Colonel in upmarket research (The Mercury)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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  • Steve Cooper

    The younger generation may be looking for a more casual atmosphere, but I bet many of them are also looking for healthier food. Just because the Colonel retires doesn’t mean the chicks offer good nutrition.

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