KFC is going to war with the Big Three — McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's.
The chicken chain announced on Monday that it is ready to unveil a "superior" fried chicken sandwich.
"The burger boys sell over 2 billion of these fried chicken sandwiches a year," says Kevin Hochman, president of KFC, referring to his fast-food competition. Hochman believes that if customers knew how much better the fast-food chicken sandwich experience could be, they would ditch McDonald's and become Zinger loyalists.
Them's fightin' words. So, we decided to see for ourselves how the Zinger measures up against the competition.
Heat that packs a punch
Hollis JohnsonThe chicken is the star of the show here, no doubt about it. KFC knows it can take on the chicken of McDonald's and the like, as that chicken is prepared elsewhere, frozen, and refried. But the Colonel makes it in-house, resulting in a juicier and crunchier fillet.
The classic KFC breading is present, with all the myriad spices and herbs. It's hard to beat. The crispness is incredibly satisfying, but the chicken itself is hefty enough to hold its own against the breading. McDonald's chicken sandwich ends up being a breading sandwich with a hint of chicken, a feint the Zinger deftly avoids.
The heat levels are perfectly calibrated. The flavor of the spice is indiscernible, and the ingredients remain a mystery for now. A slight tanginess undercuts the slow burn that lingers like the fiery passions of a long-lost love — but chicken.
Bring the zing
Hollis JohnsonThe topic of tanginess, however, is a testy one. Multiple taste testers craved a more distinctly acidic flavor to cut through the heat and savoriness of the fillet. A pickle, perhaps?
Some remarked on the sandwich's lack of... pizzazz. In recent years, KFC has shown a knack for sussing out regional flavors and traditions and bringing them to accessible and delicious items, such as the Nashville Hot and the Georgia Gold. The Zinger's quality is unassailable, but with a simple sesame bun, a spicy fillet, and mayo and lettuce rounding it out, the sandwich needs character.
You call yourself the Zinger? Bring the zing.
Ultimately, the Zinger achieves its militant mission: beating the "burger boys" by providing a higher quality fried chicken sandwich. We can only hope that this somewhat safe sandwich paves the way for KFC's triumphant entry into the sandwich sector. And if all goes well, we'll have more exciting sandwiches marching across the horizon soon.