Here's Why You Might Not See Ads For KFC's Chicken Tenders

"Come to KFC. Buy our chicken tenders. Or better yet, don't. We've got plenty of good, old-fashioned chicken on the bone to sell you, too."

If KFC were running TV ads for its boneless, breaded tenders, they might sound something like what you just read. Despite initial plans to run an aggressive ad campaign for chicken tenders, KFC thought better of it and decided not to roll out commercials for the menu item at all, according to Fortune. After all, it's hard to justify promoting something you might not be able to sell.

Don't get the wrong idea. KFC does have chicken tenders available. The chain just doesn't want to press its luck by encouraging people to buy something that isn't as plentiful as KFC executives would like. "On chicken tenders, we have enough to supply demand, but we would love to have more to be able to aggressively promote it on TV," KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman told Fortune. "In terms of advertising and promotion we're going to focus on things we have abundant quantities of." In other words, expect to see a lot of classic buckets in KFC TV spots in the near future. Bone-in chicken hasn't been as badly affected by the persistent chicken shortages of 2021.

A labor shortage is contributing low supplies of KFC chicken tenders

Problems in the U.S. chicken supply began to be felt by April, after a "once-in-a-lifetime" cold snap over the winter in Texas and neighboring states killed off some chickens in states that are major poultry producers, according to USA Today. Adding to the supply issues earlier this year were a greater demand for wings as comfort food during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing number of fast food chains jumping on the fried chicken sandwich bandwagon. We have Popeyes' viral chicken sandwich debut in 2019 to thank for that, according to The Washington Post. The chicken sandwich concept actually first introduced by Chick-fil-A continues to be a winner, with McDonald's reporting that its new sandwich in the Chick-fil-A mold exceeded expectations when it was introduced early this year.

Chicken processing rebounded in the spring, per USA Today, after a dip resulting from last winter's poultry die-off. Currently, KFC is having no trouble maintaining plentiful quantities of its longtime staple, bone-in chicken pieces. The problem now is a worker shortage that is reducing the supply of boneless options that require more labor for processing, per Fortune. These would include the breast meat for sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and those KFC tenders you won't see on TV anytime soon.