Crow Easier to Come By Than Chicken in Chicago Neighborhood

The Colonel's a Good Sport, but Popeye's Never Rests

By Published on .

So I spent a good deal of this morning eating crow. As you may know, KFC posted impressive results yesterday for the first few months of its Kentucky Grilled Chicken that Ad Age predicted would "go down as a case study in what not to do."

A major part of what's now being called "the most successful launch in KFC history" was an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and a downloadable coupon for a free meal. The response, estimated in the millions, overwhelmed KFC locations around the country, leading to the offer getting pulled. Rain checks could be issued if you went back and filled out a form. That's when Ad Age came down from the mountain. And as a Kentuckian, I felt pangs.

So yesterday when KFC's parent company released second-quarter earnings -- and the initial numbers on grilled chicken (20% trial, 85% repurchase intent, 30% same store sales swing) -- I heard from the spokeswoman to whom I'd promised to write a story about being wrong, you know, if we were wrong. She wanted to know if I needed any help. Turns out I did. All those guys, by the way, get an A+ for sportsmanship.

This morning I tweeted "Having crow for breakfast and Kentucky Grilled Chicken for lunch." @KFC_Colonel replied "The Colonel expects your lunch tastes better than your breakfast." Bold, and funny, words. But when I got to the KFC around the corner from our Chicago office, the restaurant had closed. And a particularly enterprising Popeye's had posted a sign asking passersby: "Looking for some chicken?" The closest Popeye's, it informed me, was two blocks west.

But rather than doing the unthinkable on a day of contrition, I settled for pot-stickers.

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