In Louisville, K.Y., KFC is rolling out a prototype restaurant called KFC eleven. The restaurant is significantly more upscale than regular KFC locations, and speaks to what could be a trend of fast food restaurants looking to tap into a young, upwardly mobile, urban clientele. Let's call it the hipster-fication of fast food.
KFC eleven is branding itself as "fast casual" rather than fast food, and photos of the prototype show a sleek, modern space that looks very much like it's taken its cues from other chains aiming to class-up fast food, like ShopHouse and LYFE Kitchen. There's even artwork from local artists decorating the dining room, and KFC is said to have picked the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville for it's "younger, hipper" residents and reputation as an arts community.
The menu, as well, showcases semi-trendy internationally-tinged dishes, like flatbreads and rice bowls. Everything is topped with Original Recipe (boneless) chicken, but there's no Colonel Sanders anywhere to be seen.
A story about the new prototype published in Nation's Restaurant News (free registration required) hinted that it's possible that KFC is looking to this model to "revamp" all of its locations.
"KFC has yet to determine the growth trajectory of KFC eleven, either as a standalone brand for new builds or as a prototype for remodeling the chain's current system of 4,500 locations in the United States," the article says.
So there's no telling when KFC eleven might show up in SoCal, or if it might possibly replace the KFCs now in operation nationwide. But one things's for sure: "foodie" culture is being co-opted by the big guys. Does this mean food will become better across the board, or just that the crap food will come in prettier packaging? Only time will tell.
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