KFC calls on Chinese diners to inspect its kitchen

Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:10am EST
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By Alexandra Harney

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - KFC has a message for Chinese diners worried about eating their fried chicken after a safety scare at the fast food chain: come see how we operate for yourself.

China is the biggest market by sales for KFC's parent Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N: Quote), but sales have slowed since July after a television report alleged that workers at a Yum supplier were adding expired meat to products.

The scandal, which also dragged in McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote), prompted Yum to cut its profit forecast for the year for a second time on Tuesday, adding urgency to KFC's offer to Chinese consumers to tour more than 1,000 of its kitchens and two suppliers.

"How is KFC's food prepared? Is the chicken safe? Are the restaurants hygienic?" read adverts for the tours, printed on KFC placemats.

"You can see our chicken farms yourself, and unravel the mysteries of KFC restaurants on the spot. You decide whether or not our food is safe!"

Customers can register online to book a visit. A tour led by the manager of a Shanghai restaurant this month showcased employee hand-washing (20 seconds), the oil used in the fryers (regularly tested and changed), the way the chickens are raised (safely) and the water used in the food (purified).

Tour participants, however, were not allowed to use their mobile phones, take pictures or video or record any audio.

Yum Brands declined to say when the tours in China began, how many consumers had participated, or what impact they had. Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported that the tours began in July 2013, before the latest scare.   Continued...

Employees work at a KFC store in Shanghai, July 29, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song