Did You Know There Once Was a KFC Spinoff — ‘Kentucky Roast Beef’? [VIDEO]
When you think about spinoffs, you probably are remembering popular TELEVISION series that gave birth to other series starring characters from the original show.
All in the Family/The Jeffersons, Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley, and Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul leap to mind. Movies do it too, but less frequently; you'll find more countless and questionably necessary SEQUELS on the big screen.
But what about restaurants? A "spinoff" doesn't sound right in this context, does it? Subway isn't monkeying with ITS success anytime soon, and I'd imagine McDonald's learned its lesson from the McDiner.
KFC SPINOFF -- KENTUCKY ROAST BEEF 'N' HAM
Back in the late 1960s, lessons were apparently learned when KFC--then known as Kentucky Fried Chicken--ventured into spinoff territory only to watch its "experiments" fail, and quickly.
According to Retroist, by 1967, Kentucky Fried Chicken had become so popular that it was one of the country's ten largest restaurant chains. A few years prior, Colonel Harland Sanders had turned the business dealings of his brand over to entrepreneurs and settled in as the company's legendary spokesman. The restaurant was such a huge hit that KFC decided to try their hand at roast beef and ham.
In fact, the new chain was CALLED Kentucky Roast Beef 'n' Ham. No point in beating your head against the wall with a fancy name. But maybe that would have helped. (There was also a dalliance with Kentucky Fish...make it stop.)
THE BRIEF HISTORY OF KENTUCKY ROAST BEEF 'N' HAM
The first of these truly LIMITED edition establishments went up in Las Vegas and was actually a hit. THAT doesn't surprise me; curiosity alone would have made big things happen early on.
But a lot of factors led to its downfall--among them a lack of passion for the product that existed with the colonel's chicken; a lack of awareness regarding the difficulty of cranking out fresh roast beef sandwiches quickly enough (so what's the ARBY'S secret); and, simply enough, the roast beef and ham were just more expensive.
WHY KENTUCKY ROAST BEEF 'N' HAM WAS SHORT-LIVED
The funny thing is, the sandwiches were good. When I learned that the Colonel Sanders incorporated his secret 11 herbs and spices into the roast beef, I scratched my head. How do CHICKEN seasonings work with beef? But it didn't matter.
By 1970, all Kentucky Roast Beef 'n' Ham locations were closed, even though the sandwiches themselves stayed on the KFC menus into the late 1970s. (We used to eat at KFC all the time when I was a kid, and I do not remember those sandwiches.)
I WANT KFC RIBS TO MAKE A COMEBACK
By the way, my all-time favorite KFC menu item has long since been discontinued--RIBS.
So I guess KFC still sells ribs in Australia, but they look NOTHING like the ones I loved as a kid. And these are LAMB ribs.
The old KFC ribs were meaty, had lots of flavor, and the coating was extraordinary. But it's not just ribs, roast beef, ham, and fish. KFC has a long history of discontinued menu items.
I wonder why NUGGETS didn't work.
Anyway, it's not like the KFC franchise COULDN'T make good entrees that weren't chicken. It's just that, in my opinion, they are SYNONYMOUS with chicken and perhaps there was never a real need to upset that apple cart.
Oooh, Kentucky Fried Apples...hmmm.