The Failed KFC Spin-Off You Probably Forgot About

If you asked anyone on the street what was sold at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the answer would be a resounding, obvious one: chicken, of course. This is no doubt a silly question. KFC may sell mashed potatoes, biscuits, and fries, but Colonel Sanders' fried chicken with 11 herbs and spices has always been the crown jewel, the star attraction. From drumstick form, tender form, extra crispy form, and even served alongside donuts for a little while (per Food & Wine), KFC does its best to ensure there's certainly no shortage of ways to enjoy their chicken. But let's pretend, for just a moment, that KFC didn't sell chicken. Instead, they sold something a little bit different. Something a little less chicken-y — and way more beefy.

According to Retroist, there appeared to be some trouble with the marketing boys in KFC back in the wild tie-dye days of the 1960s. Competitors like Church's Chicken and Chik-Fil-A were beginning to muscle in on the fried chicken business, and KFC needed a way to get ahead — fast. Unlike today, where they could try and re-invent the chicken sandwich, KFC decided to branch out, moving away from the chicken and biscuits model into something that would beef up the profits. In 1968, a new KFC restaurant opened up in Las Vegas, Nevada, offering customers not the usual drumsticks in a paper bucket, but roast beef and ham sandwiches.

Kentucky Roast Beef was a Kentucky Fried Failure

It's not exactly understood why KFC decided to pick roast beef and ham as a market. What is known is that the roast beef, similar to the more mainstream fried chicken, was advertised as being another of Colonel Sander's "secret recipes," per Weird Universe. Patrons could pick up a sandwich stuffed with "beef beyond belief" or a ham sandwich "with the smoked-in flavor" for as little as 69 cents. Surprisingly, patrons seemed to like the roast beef sandwiches, according to Retroist, and nearly 100 "KRBs" opened in just two years.

But the gravy train couldn't last forever. As Retroist explains, two major issues affected the chicken-turned-beef chain. It was too much of a challenge to sell quality fresh roast beef in a fast food style without sacrificing customer satisfaction or the quality of the meat. People also found the original KFC to have far more amounts of food for only a few cents more — for the price of one roast beef sandwich, you could have purchased an entire chicken dinner. Eventually, KFC just couldn't figure out what to do with the stores. Two years after the first store opened, Kentucky Roast Beef closed up shop, with a few of the locations being re-converted into original KFC stores.

Today, KRB stores now serve as ghostly reminders of a chain's failed dream, something Redditors can look at in surprise, confusion, and amazement. While Colonel Sanders may have herbs and spices, perhaps they should leave the meats to Arby's.