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Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W – Brooklawn, NJ

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Messy executive decisions almost fry this bird.

Kentucky Fried Chicken / A&W Root Beer
Route 130, Brooklawn, NJ
Meal: Dinner / 630p / Weeknight
Price: $1.50 (Post-coupon) for 1

As promised, I took my Oprah-sanctioned free coupon to an area KFC to give their new grilled chicken a chance. Honestly, I haven’t been to KFC in ages and I really wasn’t expecting much. I do remember amazing coleslaw, and unfortunately a whole lot of cold, veiny, abused chicken pieces from their years of battling with PETA. With their ‘unthink KFC’ campaign in full swing, it was as good a time as any to see if things have indeed changed. What better ‘stress test’ than to show up on possibly the worst day with a long line of customers expecting something for nothing. Cruel, I know.

My primary challenge with this review is that I’m writing it after the company has backed out of its promise to continue honoring the free coupons. It shouldn’t impact the score of the food, but likelihood to return is also a contributing factor in which KFC’s conduct should be considered. The fake, plastic-smile TV commercial by Roger Eaton (CEO) didn’t help matters, and if anything, only made me more sour on the situation. You don’t consume poor management, but your purchase does keep them in a life of luxury which we all need to remember.

[image title=”KFC_2pcGrilled” size=”medium” id=”620″ align=”middle” alt=”What all the fuss was about” ]

After a twenty minute wait, and zero complaints from anyone in line, I finally redeemed my coupon and ordered the two-piece grilled meal (I got a wing and a breast) with coleslaw and mashed potatoes. Out of what was probably misplaced sympathy for the corporation, I also shelled out for a regular hamburger, which was priced at $1.29 but I was oddly charged $1.39 for. As this is a KFC/A&W combo restaurant, they had a wide variety of other burgers, root beer floats, etc. You’ve probably seen KFC/Taco Bell combos out there too. At the benefit of an expanded menu, it’s difficult to sort out all the different items and meal choices. The interior of the building was a little messy, but that was to be expected considering the line towards the back of the store waiting for freebies.

A pretty amazing thing happened when I was at the front of the line. An older gentleman, who had waited in front of me, had asked to purchase the largest bucket of grilled chicken KFC had available. Something in the area of $20 worth, if I remember. Unbelievably, he was told they would not fill his order because of all the other people in line waiting for free chicken. They turned down a profitable sale to make sure they could fill the to-go bags of all the loss-making customers that were waiting. If you ask me, that is totally backwards. They did tell the gentleman they would fire up a batch just for him, but it would take around 18 minutes and he’d have to pre-pay and wait for it. He declined and left the building, probably as confused as I was. You won’t see that too often.

Back at home, I dove into my subsidized feast. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The chicken was indeed tender enough to fall off the bone in some spots, and I thought the flavor to be excellent. The portion size was just fine for a free dish, but I’d probably want at least another wing if I was paying the $3.99 for it. The coleslaw wasn’t quite like I remember though. It was good, no doubt, but not as finely chopped and dry as what I remembered. The potatoes were almost too creamy, to the point where they were one mushy unit that the gravy was unable to pentrate without agitation. The biscuit was dry and otherwise unremarkable. The burger, a McDonald’s clone with two pickes, ketchup, and mustard on a sesame seed bun, was actually very good. It’s a shame they popped it out of a microwave prior to putting it on the bun.

[image title=”KFC_Burger” size=”medium” id=”623″ align=”center” alt=”Yeah, that’s a burger.” ]

Overall, I would have likely returned for an occasional grilled chicken indulgence, but I’m annoyed with the way everything transpired. KFC will honor the coupons eventually, but my feeling is a lot of coupon holders aren’t even going to bother to redeem them for the rain checks. The combo stores have more variety than other fast food joints, and the grilled selections give you a way to try to make it a little healthier. For that, we’ll give them some credit.

Guru’s Score: 3.0 Chews
★★★☆☆
Subjective rating: Marginally better than other fast food choices. Marginally.

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Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W - Brooklawn, NJ, 2.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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