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SWOT analysis of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

SWOT analysis of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

This is a detailed SWOT analysis of KFC that aims to examine the strengths and the weaknesses of KFC. It also looks into the opportunities the company should explore and the threats it should build resilient walls against. KFC is an America fast food restaurant chain, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, the USA.

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. It has over 24,000 outlets in more than 145 countries and territories around the world (KFC, 2021). It 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, 2021). 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 removed artificial colours and flavours from its core products by the end of 2018.

Awards and accolades

KFC has won a number of awards over the years. For example, its vegan burger received the Best Vegan Chicken award in 2020 that was awarded by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) – an animal rights group (Zahid, 2020).  Likewise, KFC was named the winner of the Package of the Year honour in 2019 by the Foodservice Packaging Institute and QSR magazine.

Weaknesses of KFC

Problems in supply chain management

KFC was forced to temporarily close most of its UK restaurants after a chicken shortage caused by problems with a new delivery contract with DHL. The crisis was so bad that the company failed to come up with a clear indication as to when the situation would be back to normal (Weaver, 2018).

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).


KFC has found itself in the midst of a number of controversies over the years. For example, in the past People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 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.

Opportunities for KFC

Demand for healthier food

Demand for healthier food is in gradual increase worldwide. This is a very good opportunity for KFC. It could introduce healthier food options more to attract new health-conscious 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. Indeed, increasing demands for fast food are evident in many countries.

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 (Kentucky Fried Chicken)’ has been useful. You may also like reading Marketing mix of KFC (7Ps of KFC). Other relevant articles for you are:

SWOT analysis of Burger King

SWOT analysis of Subway

SWOT analysis of McDonald’s

Marketing mix of Burger King

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Last update: 18 February 2021


Hsu, T. (2013) After KFC chicken scare, Yum plans to ‘stay the course in China, available at: (Accessed 18 April 2018)

ITV Plc. (2017) KFC fined nearly £1m after two workers scalded by boiling hot gravy, available at: (Accessed 18 April 2018)

KFC (2021) What made us great is still what makes us great, available at (Accessed 16 February 2021)

Zahid, A. (2020) KFC’s hit vegan burger wins award from animal rights group, available at: (Accessed 16 February 2021)

Weaver, M. (2018) Most KFCs in UK remain closed because of chicken shortage, available at: (accessed 20 February 2020)

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of teaching 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. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.

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