Debra Killalea and Sophie Borland, Daily Mail (London), May 6, 2009
Kentucky Fried Chicken is to launch a halal-only menu in eight of its London stores
Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken is to launch a halal-only menu in eight of its London stores in a move which could be extended to other areas of the UK.
The menu, which will form part of a trial, will see the stores selling chicken products which have been fully approved by the Halal Food Authority for the first time.
KFC has 720 stores across the UK, and bosses said the move was designed to ensure the company was catering to a broader range of customers, following a growing demand for halal products.
It is the latest fast food chain to introduce a halal-only menu after Domino’s launched one at a Birmingham store in February.
From this week, KFC bargain buckets, crispy strips and family feasts bought in certain outlets serving high Muslim populations will all have the halal-approved stamp.
The fast-food chain has so far converted eight of its London restaurants to sell the meat, in areas including Forest Gate, West Ham, Tottenham and Bethnal Green.
The chosen branches, which also include those in Beckton, Leyton, Edmonton and Hounslow, will have a logo on the door telling visitors that all food served has been fully approved by the Halal Food Authority (HFA).
As Muslims cannot eat pork, the Halal branches have removed the Big Daddy burger from the menu as it contains bacon.
KFC’s scheme will be trialled over the summer, but if it proves a success dozens more branches across the country are expected to follow suit and become halal-only.
The company said halal menus could be launched in other stores where large numbers of Muslim customers are based and ‘where there is demand’.
Over the next few months it will closely monitor customer feedback in the chosen outlets and if it is good they will be permanently converted to 100 per cent halal.
The move follows a similar decision made by Dominos Pizza, which launched a halal only menu at its Hall Green store in Birmingham earlier this year amid a storm of controversy.
Domino’s said the change has improved business despite an initial backlash from non-halal customers who complained they were not able to order pizzas such as the Meteor which contains pepperoni, sausage, meatballs and bacon.
But KFC insists that the taste of its chicken will remain ‘finger-lickin good’ and that it has only converted branches where there are other non-halal ones within a two-mile radius.
KFC vice-president of marketing Jennelle Tilling said: ‘We want to see how customers respond to the trial, to see if this is something that allows us to make our great tasting food available to a broader range of customers.’
A spokesman for KFC said the food would still taste the same as it ever had and that the fast food giant will use existing suppliers to provide the stores with halal meat.
‘This is taking place in areas where there is a high demand for halal and where they is another KFC outlet within two miles for those who do not want it,’ he said.
‘It is just a chance for us to see if it is something our customers really want or not.’
Halal means any item on the menu which may contain bacon, ham or pork must be removed and all the chicken must by halal-approved.
Under the rules, the animal should be killed by having its throat cut by a Muslim and any flowing blood of the carcass should be completely drained.
Animals cannot be eaten if they have died of natural causes and have to have been killed.
The chain has also moved to assure customers that its halal certified chicken would meet the rigorous animal welfare standards used across the UK.
Masood Khawaja, President of the Halal Food Authority, welcomed the trial and said it was good news for the Muslim community.
‘Having worked with KFC closely, Halal Food Authority is delighted to accredit the usage of the HFA logo and symbol of approval on endorsed products,’ Mr Khawaja said.
‘The Muslim community can now enjoy all the products in this trial in eight participating halal-approved restaurants, as these have been procured with full adherence to both Islamic dietary rules and relevant EU hygiene, food safety and animal welfare regulations.’