KFC's New Menu Change Has Fans Seeing Red

KFC seems dedicated to shaking things up for 2020. First, a new "premium" chicken sandwich, and now this: According to Business Insider, the chicken-focused chain is officially swapping out its iconic potato wedges for the new Secret Recipe Fries in all U.S. locations.

For some Colonel Sanders fans across the country, the new fries aren't exactly news. The company had quietly rolled them out in late 2019, with Today proclaiming in September that they'd been noticed by fast-food aficionados in the Midwest and on the West Coast. The chain confirmed that it was "currently testing Secret Recipe Fries in select markets."

At that time, though, they were likely assumed to be a limited-time offering, not a replacement for the chain's long-standing side dish of seasoned wedges (via The Takeout). The company even launched a "Secret Recipe Fries Locator" to point taste-testers in the right direction (via Fox 25).

However, early analysis of the fries perhaps foreshadowed the debate that would ensue. A reviewer at The Impulsive Buy noted mixed feelings even among employees: One server declared her love for the fries, while a cook grumbled his preference for the wedges, lambasting the fries for a lack of flavor.

Now, with the skinnier revamp set to eclipse its thicker-tater predecessor, that same debate is being carried on nationwide — with some very vocal detractors.

KFC's ongoing fries controversy

Thanks to the fries' "Secret Recipe" blend (the mixture of 11 herbs and spices that KFC has kept hush-hush for years), Today announced last year that they simply "taste just like its chicken." Others were more excited for the new menu item: "Where have these been all my life?!" asked one Delish writer.

But now that fans have verified the switch, the Twitter uproar is rising. Radio station KRFO posted one user's response: "KFC getting rid of potato wedges has me done with 2020." Business Insider notes that "customers are furious," calling the fries "legit terrible" and "trash." There's even already a petition on Change.org to bring back the beloved wedges.

A KFC rep responded to Business Insider, "While we know there are wedge-lovers out there who may be disappointed, consumer response to our Secret Recipe Fries during the test and the rollout has been overwhelmingly positive."

Actually, the chain is uniquely prepared for such pushback — because it's not the first time KFC has found itself in the midst of fry-fueled fury. So Yummy reported in 2018 that the company's fries had come under Twitter fire from U.K. customers, who've fought the menu item across the pond for years. In response, KFC ultimately reposted a trio of angry tweets in advertisements and on its own Twitter account to announce it was changing the hated recipe. Time will tell if U.S.-based backlash will have the same effect.