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KFC Sullies Chinese Classic

 The China Daily has a story that is critical of the cultural clumsiness of a new KFC commercial. Kentucky Fried Chicken's latest video advertisement depicts an old Taoist sage surrounded by his apprentices who excitedly hold a chicken burger and claim it as a masterpiece. Sounds innocent enough, right? Not quite. The backdrop and the old Taoist' s clothing simulate a scene from the movie Seven Swords, a work of fiction based on actual historical events and is highly regarded among the Chinese community.

Culture watchdogs are cringing, criticizing KFC for perverting Chinese history. The controversy has raised concerns that Chinese culture will be further undermined if ads like this are not changed.

"In cultural exchanges between China and the western countries, the latter always appears in a dominant position, and our culture and traditions are not given full respect," Han Yunbo, a professor of the Southwest University Literature Department, told the China Business Post. "This event tells us to better protect our traditions and to keep them pure against tacky reconstructions," he added.

96% of American Adults Dine Out Monthly

 The Scarborough Research Restaurant Report was released today. It is full of interesting facts on curious consumer eating habits at restaurants, like the adjacent chart that shows what ethnicities eat the most at quick service restaurants (fast-food) compared to the norm of total adults, 100. According to the report, Americans like eating out. Just how much? Well, this much...

Wendy's Heats Up While McDonald's Chickens Out

  Wendy's announced that it will add to its successful spicy chicken sandwich line by test marketing a 4-alarm chicken spice sandwich. Although McDonald's announced in May that their new Hot 'n' Spicy McChicken sandwich was responsible for driving comparable sales up, in July they've gone the opposite direction as Wendy's by announcing the discontinuance of its spicy chicken.

McDonald's Opens Gym Extension

 Whittier, California - McDonald’s is expanding its restaurants to include gyms. Yes. That’s right.

A Whittier McDonald’s has become the first in California to open an R Gym extension, a play area that has stationary bicycles, obstacle course, basketball hoops and other exercise areas aimed at having children exercise to burn off calories. It includes such things as an interactive video game that lets children peddle along with characters on a videoscreen while exercising on a stationary bicycle. McDonald's told Blue MauMau that the R Gym is now a selection that its restaurants will be able to choose throughout the country.

The Beginnings of Kentucky Fried Chicken And How It Got Its Name

Editor's Note: This article and podcast have been submitted to the franchise history

Higher Gas Prices Aren't Hurting McDonald's Sales

 McDonald's has not seen a slowdown in sales as a result of high gas prices or a general dampening of consumer spending, says Ralph Alvarez, president of North America. As he shows up on Wall Street for McDonald's 40th anniversary of being publicly listed, Mr. Alvarez explains in this video about an improved business, sports marketing and what's next in movie marketing tie-ins as McDonald's exclusive deal with Disney ends.

Self-Service Sleeping & Eating

 Airline customers love to check themselves in at the airport. According to FastCompany, more than 75% of them do, which is probably more a function of the quality of the airline check-in being far from warm and cuddly. In contrast, only 10 - 25% of guests in hotels that have kiosks use it to check in or out. Is that because hotel guests expect more of a personal touch from their lodging experience?

Cold Stone Creamery Names Jim Flaum President and CEO

Jim Flaum has been appointed to lead Cold Stone Creamery in its quest to become the number one best-selling ice cream brand by 2009. Flaum was executive vice president of Cold Stone before he departed in 2004 to launch his own multi-unit restaurant business. He spent 30 years with the McDonald's Corp., where in his last position he was senior vice president of the West Division.

Flaum will report to Doug Ducey, Chairman and CEO.

[via RNR]

Interview With Kentucky Fried Chicken's First Franchise

Jay AlexanderThe World's first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952 and it is a pivotal moment for the development of the modern business format franchise.  This is one of a three part series on the history of Harman Cafe featuring Kentucky Fried Chicken with Harman Management spokesperson Mr. Jay Alexander, Operations Liaison (pictured next to the statues of Colonel Harland Sanders and Pete Harman). 

The KFC website has this to say about Pete Harman and KFC's beginnings:

After meeting his close friend and skilled businessman, Pete Harman, Colonel Sanders cashed in his $105 Social Security check to begin franchising his dream.

This is an audio podcast of Pete Harman's KFC story. 

15:18 minutes (1.98 MB)

From Coast To Coast, ZPizza Tops Favorites Lists

Gourmet Pizza Chain Beats Usual Suspects in Customer Choice Awards 

Washington, D.C., July 6, 2006— Zpizza, the Southern California based pizza chain has received rave reviews since its inception in 1986 accruing customer choice awards in prominent publications such as the Los Angeles Times. Most recently voted “Best Pizza Restaurant” and “Best Pizza Delivery” in Washingtonian magazine, Zpizza continues to impress its nationwide customer base and broaden its status as the premier gourmet pizza restaurant in the industry.  
“Zpizza corners a new niche in the pizza segment,” says Chris Bright zpizza president.