Who will get a leg up in the latest round of chicken wars?
KFC and El Pollo Loco are at it again Monday. KFC is conducting its third grilled chicken giveaway since April and El Pollo Loco is staging a sweepstakes that will award one person free chicken every week of the year.
Let's take a look at KFC's strategy. Visit participating stores and you'll get a free piece of their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken. It's all part of "UNFry Day."
Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco is waging its offensive on two different fronts -- twitter.com/elpollolocoinc and facebook.com/elpollolocoinc. They're asking participants in a daylong contest to visit the Twitter and Facebook pages and submit a comment on why their flame-grilled chicken is better than KFC's "oven-grilled" chicken.
"Oven-grilled?" Those are fighting words.
One winner will be drawn at approximately 10 a.m. Tuesday and receive vouchers for 52 two-piece meals.
In an attempt to lure health-conscious customers, KFC in mid-April began selling Kentucky Grilled Chicken, containing less fat, calories, and sodium than the Original Recipe fried chicken. It marked "a defining moment in our brand's storied history," said company President Roger Eaton.
On April 27, it conducted a similar one-piece-per-person giveaway as part of a marketing campaigning designed to show that "KFC is not too chicken to think outside the bucket."
Such aggression did not go unnoticed. The following day, El Pollo Loco had a two-piece-per-person giveaway of its grilled chicken.
On May 5, a free two-piece dinner offer was promoted on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," with coupons available on the popular syndicated talk show's website. The offer received what KFC called an unprecedented response, overwhelming restaurants.
On May 7, the company announced it could no longer accept the coupons, instituting a "rain check" system instead.