MRM’s Daily Bite: The Chicken News Edition

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Wingstop Expands into France

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. is extending its global reach by expanding into France by entering into a franchise agreement with a newly created entity under Brescia Investissement SAS. During the next 12 years, more than 70 restaurants will open across France with the first Wingstop set to open in Southern France by mid-2018.


Brescia Investissement SAS was founded by company president Francesco Brescia, a former longtime franchisee of McDonald’s, who developed multiple locations across Marseille and Southern France from 1986 to 2015. Together with general manager and son Stephane Brescia and their team, they are focused on bringing iconic American brands to France, and are enthusiastic about entering the fast-growing chicken category.

“This is a very exciting project for us and our team,” said Francesco. “The chicken category is underserved in France, and we know Wingstop’s proven success can be replicated here in the region. Our 30 years’ experience in the sector has refined our supply chain relationships and refined our real estate, marketing and financial capabilities, placing us in a strong position to rapidly expand the Wingstop brand.”

“Our expansion into France increases our presence in Europe after the announcement of the United Kingdom deal earlier this year, and with scaled synergies establishes a foundation for additional growth in the region,” said Larry Kruguer, president of international at Wingstop. “The Brescia family is passionate about the restaurant business and we believe their efforts will allow us to fully tap in to the growing demand for quality chicken in France. The dynamic changes in local consumer demographics and tastes fit perfectly with our mission to serve the world flavor as we aim to become a top 10 global restaurant brand.”

Openings in France will mark the thirteenth international market outside of the United States; and the eighth new market announced during the past 12 months.

KFC’s GPS Cassette Adventure

In an effort to both modernize cassette tape technology and pay homage to the classic American road trip, KFC introduced the world’s first-ever GPS cassette tape with the voice of Colonel Harland Sanders giving overly-detailed directions, rambling down hilarious tangents and singing his favorite road trip sing-along songs.

“The digital audio formats we have today pale in comparison to the mahogany-rich sound of a classic vinyl record,” said Steve Kelly, director of media and digital, KFC U.S. “Unfortunately, no one ever figured out an easy way to put record players in cars, so we went with the next best audio format: a cassette tape.”

Beginning in KFC’s hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, and ending at KFC’s iconic Big Chicken restaurant in Marietta, Georgia, KFC’s GPS cassette tape narrates a picturesque drive through the part of the country responsible for Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ and Nashville Hot – two popular regional flavors that can currently be found on KFC menus nationwide as Extra Crispy™ Tenders, Chicken Littles® and Extra Crispy™ Chicken.

The meandering drive makes pit stops at unique cultural experiences in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, including a stop in Corbin, Kentucky, where Col. Sanders invented his Original Recipe®. By simply pressing pause on the cassette at any time, road trippers can take in the Americana nostalgia found throughout the Appalachian region, without the distractions of on-screen directions or unrelenting interruptions by artificially intelligent direction apps.

“Through the GPS cassette tape’s off-the-beaten-path prompts, KFC fans are directed to take unexpected turns and try our Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ and Nashville Hot regional flavors along the way – creating a journey full of experiences that recalls the trip Colonel Sanders took selling his famous fried chicken recipe door to door in the 1950s,” said Kelly.

Church’s Adds to Hall of Fame

For the first time since 2014, Church’s Chicken®has added a new member to its Hall of Fame. As part of a gala awards ceremony at the company’s annual Excellence in Leadership Conference, Church’s CEO, Joe Christina, welcomed Terry White as the fourth member of the Hall of Fame – one of the highest honors the brand bestows on individuals.

Terry White
Terry White

“The Church’s Chicken Hall of Fame recognizes individuals that have made long-lasting and impactful contributions to the growth and stability of our great brand around the world,” Christina said during the presentation. “This award exemplifies the highest standard of commitment to the brand, its ideals, and its values.”

Christina introduced Terry White, franchisee of 37 years and counting, and now, newest member of the Hall of Fame. White began his career with Church’s in the early 1970s in Alabama, where he dedicated himself to every day excellence and meeting the standards of the brand’s Step 13 program. By May 5, 1980, he earned the distinction of Master Merchant – a top honor recognized with a Golden Key to the restaurant, White’s first, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. White acquired additional restaurants throughout the state and made each one a successful turnaround story by achieving double-digit sales improvements and adhering to core brand principles such as Friendly Team Members, Quality, Service, and Cleanliness. He now operates 15 Church’s restaurants throughout Alabama and Mississippi.

During the presentation, White was honored with a video salute of his business and personal successes as a respected restaurant owner, family man, and community leader. “Terry is the nicest guy you’d ever meet and has an energy that radiates warmth and hospitality,” Christina continued. “He has spent his career focused on taking care of those around him… his managers, team members, and guests are all very important to him… his family is his #1 priority and they are an essential part of the business. I am honored to announce [Terry White] as our 2017 Church’s Chicken Hall of Fame Inductee.”

“I am honored to receive this award and to be where I am with Church’s today,” said Terry White, Franchisee of Church’s Chicken. “I have always enjoyed working hard and being proud of what I have been able to accomplish and I owe that to my team members, family and my Church’s Chicken family.”

Terry White joins other Hall of Fame members: George Church, Sr. – the Founder of Church’s Chicken; Francisco Gerardo Larrea – franchisee from Puerto Rico; and Bob French – former Church’s Chicken Regional Franchise Director. Church’s places great value in recognizing those that have paved the way to forming an iconic brand, 65 years in the making. The honor is not awarded on a regular schedule, but is instead only presented to those who have gone above and beyond in service of the brand and their communities. 

Super Size Me 2 Coming to YouTube

YouTube acquired the rights to SUPER SIZE ME 2: HOLY CHICKEN!, directed by Morgan Spurlock and co-written with Jeremy Chilnick, from Warrior Poets, Snoot Entertainment and Public Domain. The sequel to the Oscar® nominated documentary made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival as an official selection of the Festival’s Documentary Premiere section. SUPER SIZE ME 2: HOLY CHICKEN! will release theatrically in 2018, followed by the exclusive global premiere on YouTube Red. Spurlock reignites his battle with the food industry — this time from behind the register — as he opens his own fast food restaurant.


“I’m ecstatic to be partnering with YouTube Red for the release of Super Size Me 2!” said Morgan Spurlock. “There’s no one better to help get this film in front of more people worldwide than these guys. They are going to blow this clucker up!”  

“Supersize Me 2” marks the second time Spurlock has partnered with YouTube, following the release of his documentary “Vlogumentary” on YouTube Red in 2016.

“Morgan Spurlock has tackled so many thought-provoking topics over the years, and we’re thrilled to partner with him once again on this revealing documentary,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube. “Morgan is skilled at sparking a global conversation on today’s most relevant issues, and ‘Super Size Me 2’ is yet another powerful film that will captivate viewers.” 

The film is produced by Warrior Poets’ Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick and Matthew Galkin, as well as Keith Calder and Jessica Calder of Snoot Entertainment and Spencer Silna and Nicole Barton of Public Domain.

Last year,  Spurlock opened fast-food restaurant Holy Chicken! in Columbus, OH, a fast-food “Chicken Experience” where guests will have the opportunity to taste selections from the “fast-food with integrity” menu. Dishes include Holy Chicken!’s signature dish “The Grilled Crispy Chicken Sandwich,” a special kid’s menu highlight the “Lil’ Cluckers Chicken Tenders,” made from 100 percent natural free range chickens and locally sourced and locally produced beverages. 

YouTube Red is currently available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Korea.

Clucking for Chicken

In other chicken-related news, the National Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) presented by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers attracted more than 166,000 attendees to Woldenberg Riverfront Park last weekend, according to entrance clicks conducted by festival security. 

“For the second year, we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community. We are so pleased to have worked with great sponsors, chefs, musicians, volunteers and Audubon Nature Institute to provide this experience for our neighbors across Louisiana and our visiting tourists, who traveled for the festival,” said Cleveland Spears, III, President and CEO of the Spears Group and FCF organizer. “While we are thrilled that everyone had a good time, we are even happier to have helped 35 independently owned restaurants have their top revenue days for the year, as well as our ability to support hurricane relief through our Pay it Forward Tent.
This year’s festival also featured more than 35 restaurant chefs and restaurants from across the U.S., live entertainment, celebrity chefs and more.  Free on-site activations included the Raising Cane’s Caniac Clubhouse, the Louisiana Federation for Children Kids’ Coop, the AT&T and Best Buy Football Fan Zone, the Sucré Sweet Spot and the GoNOLA Mist and Chill Zone and more. The return of the Moet Chicken and Champagne VIP Lounge featured Willie Mae’s, backstage access and more. The Raising Cane’s ONE LOVE wall also returned for festival goers to share messages of love and encouragement as well as what they love about fried chicken.

Big Freedia and Naughty Professor closed out the main stage on Sunday and Saturday respectively. Celebrity Chef Jeff Henderson, the festival’s national spokesperson, hosted the Sizzle Shack presented by Rouses Markets, a cooking demo stage that featured many local chefs including Wayne Baquet of Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe. Festival attendees could also dance all-day long and win festival cluck bucks, at the Cluck If You Buck DJ Stage.
FCF held the Raising Cane’s Chicken Finger Eating Contest, the Best Fried Chicken and Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish. Stephen Welford from Mobile, Alabama won the Raising Cane’s Chicken Finger Eating Contest. Salthouse Catering from Charleston, SC took home the prize for Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish. For the second year in a row, The Original Fiorella’s Cafe won the coveted Best Fried Chicken Contest. 
The awards portion of the evening ended with the presentation of the 2017 Culinary Icon Award by Todd Graves, Raising Cane’s President and CEO, and Cleveland Spears, III, President and CEO of the Spears Group and FCF organizer. Kerry Seaton Stewart of Willie Mae’s Scotch House was this year’s recipient for her contribution to the culinary arts. Last year’s inaugural award was presented to Chef Leah Chase, the matriarch of Dooky Chase.
“It was an honor to present Kerry with the 2017 Culinary Icon Award. She and Willie Mae’s Scotch House are shining examples of what this festival is about. I’m already looking forward to Fried Chicken Fest 2018,” said Graves.