SWOT analysis of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

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This concise SWOT analysis of KFC aims look into the strengths and the weaknesses of KFC. It also aims to look into the opportunities the company should explore and the threats it should keep an eye on.

SWOT analysis of KFC – KFC SWOT analysis

Strengths of KFC

Global presence

KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is an America fast food restaurant chain that is famous for its fried chicken specialisation. As of March 2018, it has over 20,500 outlets in more than 125 countries and territories around the world (KFC, 2018). KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders. Although the first ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ franchise was opened in Utah in 1952, Sanders had started selling fried chicken long before. It is worth mentioning that Sanders sold KFC to a group of investors in 1964.

Sanders’ original recipe

Sanders’ original recipe is a secret which was never disclosed to the outside world. KFC chicken is seasoned with a secret blend of 11 herbs & spices and then hand breaded all day long by a certified cook (KFC, 2018). Chicken is pressure cooked at a low temperature to provide customers with a great taste of chicken.

Food promise

KFC serves freshly cooked fried chicken every day. It also offers vegetarian products to attract more customers. In the USA, it uses 100% real chicken raised in U.S. farms. KFC chicken is USDA inspected and free of added hormones and steroids. KFC plans to remove artificial colours and flavours from its core products by the end of 2018.

Weaknesses of KFC


KFC has found itself in the midst of a number of controversies over the years. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has organised a huge number of demonstrations to challenge KFC’s choice of poultry suppliers worldwide. Greenpeace also criticised KFC over a number of issues e.g. sourcing paper pulp for food packaging from Indonesian rainforest wood. Likewise, many people accused the Australian arm of KFC of racial insensitivity over a television commercial in 2010.

Untrustworthy suppliers

Some of the KFC suppliers have been proven untrustworthy causing the company an enormous reputational damage. For example, it came into light in 2012 that a number of KFC suppliers in China were using growth hormones and an excessive amount of antibiotics on their poultry in ways that were in violation of the Chinese law (Hsu, 2013).

Opportunities for KFC

Demand for healthier food

Demand for healthier food is in gradual increase worldwide. This is a very good opportunity for KFC. KFC could introduce healthier food options more to attract new customers and make the existing ones satisfied.


Further expansion in the home country (USA) is possible. Likewise, KFC has huge potentials to grow in the emerging economies. Consumer behaviour is changing and more and more people in the emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, and Nigeria are eating out with family, friends, and colleagues.

Threats to KFC


Threat is the last element to discuss in the SWOT analysis of KFC. Undoubtedly, competitors are the biggest threats to KFC. Among the main competitors of KFC are McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Starbucks.

Legal challenges

KFC has faced a number of legal challenges over the years. For example, Teesside Crown Court fined KFC £950,000 after two workers were scalded by boiling hot gravy (ITV Plc, 2017). Legal challenges have potentials to damage a company’s reputation, and in extreme case can threaten its existence.

We hope this article on the ‘SWOT analysis of KFC’ has been useful. You may also like reading SWOT analysis of Burger King. Other relevant articles for you are:

SWOT analysis of Subway

SWOT analysis of McDonald’s

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Last update: 20 April 2018


Hsu, T. (2013) After KFC chicken scare, Yum plans to ‘stay the course in China, available at: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mo-kfc-chicken-china-yum-20130205-story.html (Accessed 18 April 2018)

ITV Plc. (2017) KFC fined nearly £1m after two workers scalded by boiling hot gravy, available at: http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2017-01-20/kfc-fined-nearly-1m-after-two-teesside-workers-scalded-by-boiling-hot-gravy/ (Accessed 18 April 2018)

KFC (2018) What made us great is still what makes us great, available at https://www.kfc.com/about (Accessed 15 April 2018)

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: Jo David

Jo David has years of experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality and tourism management.