The Chief Food Innovation Officer at Yum! Restaurants that operates KFC India, Vijay Sukumar who is responsible for the safety standards, takes us through a kitchen tour in a video and explains about the high safety standards while completely ignoring the worms found in the chicken at an outlet in Thiruvananthapuram.

KFC India FacebookFollowing a customer complaint about having been served chicken infested with worms at a KFC outlet in Thiruvananthapuram, the food safety department inspected the place and have taken samples for further tests, the results of which are expected on Saturday. The said outlet has been closed by the authorities on Monday.(1)

Meanwhile, there has been an outrageous repercussion in the digital sphere with #KFC trending for quite a few days on Twitter. Right from angry demands of explanation and worm jibes at the QSR brand, there was also a movement rechristening KFC to KFW (Kentucky Fried Worms). Incidentally, I was also following the Radio KFC hunt on their Facebook page and did spot absolutely seething comments on all the posts. The page admin did respond with investigations being on their way. However, fans wanted an official statement.

This much-awaited official statement came as an update on Wednesday and has received 2440 likes, 145 shares and 219 comments at the time of writing this article :

“Hi we know some of you have been hearing and reading about the recent inspection conducted by the local authorities at our restaurant in Trivandrum. Nothing is more important to us than food safety. We take all claims about our food very seriously and we are thoroughly investigating this claim. Please rest assured that as a responsible brand, we are committed to following international standards and serving the highest quality products to all our customers across each of our restaurants. All KFC chicken is sourced from the state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities which comply to the most stringent food safety standards. These facilities are certified to international quality standards and are audited frequently. Our Chicken is freshly prepared several times a day in the most hygienic conditions in ovens at 250 degrees or fryers at 170 degrees. We are very proud of our quality and welcome consumers to take a tour of the kitchen any time any day. If you have any queries about this, please do write to us at [email protected].”

So far, so good as the matter is under the scanner and awaits a fair trial. Still, we needed a statement from a person of authority. This came up in another update yesterday which is a video where the Chief Food Innovation Officer, Vijay Sukumar of Yum! Restaurants (KFC is part of Yum!) encourages fans to take a kitchen tour with him.

Here’s the video:

Strangely,Vijay harps on the safety standards at KFC but does not make any reference to the worm incident! And, that’s exactly what triggered this post. I’m a KFC fan. I love the Zinger as much as the service and ambience but I’m worried about finding worms in my Zinger now and would like the Chief Food Innovation Officer at KFC to reassure me. He does take a bite towards the end of the video but that does not work for me. As a fan and a loyal customer, I want to know what’s happening about the worm-gate.

Being an observer in the digital space, I believe the brand has failed to save its reputation. If one goes by the sentiments of the comments on the Facebook updates and the YouTube video, most of them are demanding an explanation about the incident. I understand that the matter is under investigation and the update on Wednesday states the position taken by KFC but it needed a human voice, nobody trusts a logo. So it was a wonderful thing when the brand’s Chief Food Innovation Officer, who is responsible for the safety standards, spoke to us through a video.

But, Vijay totally missed the point – he could have done a world of good had he begun his video addressing the worm issue at hand. And then continued talking about KFC’s safety standards. KFC India has just lost on an opportunity to leverage the situation.

Do let us know your thoughts on this as we continue to track the story and keep you updated about the KFC India worm-gate.

  1. Source: Times of India