Pros: Many locations, Delicious Mashed Potatoes
Cons: Dirty locations, Terrible Food, Long Wait Times, Consistency
Colonel Sanders is an American icon, and had a lot to do with the fast food industry's success. He was stringent on quality controls, and in delivering hot foot fast at a reasonable price. The Colonel was legendary in the fact, that he would go to restaurants under his control, and check every item for consistency. According to some books I have read about him, he could have a kind attitude towards people, while being demanding at the same time. He was truly a special person, and he is probably rolling in his grave, knowing how far KFC has fallen to the bottom ranks of fast food establishments.
You will not pay a lot of money at KFC, but there are better values out there for fried chicken, with competitors such as Popeyes and Church's. This is mostly due to lack of quality controls, that have been evident at many of the KFC's that I've eaten at. While some of them have edible offerings, some of them are truly disgusting. This could be due to franchising without inspections, or the fact that the company does not care much about its image. When I was growing up, everyone went to KFC for fried chicken. It was served piping hot, and almost always seemed to melt right off of the bone. Now you get a subpar product, that lacks any flavor or complexity, with a high cholesterol score to boot.
There are two types of fried chicken at KFC. You can choose from Crispy or Original, with the Original being the better option. The Original is lightly breaded, and although the white meat looks appetizing, it leaves a lot to be desired. As soon as you bite through the breading, you will be disappointed with the lack of flavor. It has no spice, and the chicken is almost always dry. It is not as dry as the Crispy, which seems to be in a state of being consistently overcooked. The Crispy also lacks any flavor, and could be best described as boring, after you get through the thick skin.
In addition to the fried chicken meals, which range from $3.99-$6.99, you can order Popcorn Chicken. This is actually a cool looking item, as these small pieces of battered chicken, are served in a movie theater style box. It is a good concept, but it fails to deliver on flavor as well. Depending on which KFC you go to, they could be cooked properly, or undercooked like I had the last time. The other issue with these chicken pieces, is the amount of grease dripping through the box. It is almost an advertisement for scheduling a trip to the Cardiologist, and a large box of these will leave you hungry. They just do not fill you up, and are best paired with sides, if the KFC you go to treats their chicken right.
The Chicken Sandwiches are fairly tasty, and are a decent snack item. They are topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, and can be ordered a la carte or with a combo meal. This is probably the best item on the menu, but you can get a better sandwich(ie.Po Boy at Popeyes) elsewhere. The Chicken Strips are hideous, and will leave you thirsty. They are loaded with salt, are usually overcooked, and cannot be helped with generous amounts of Honey Mustard or Barbecue Sauce.
The side items are a mixed bag, and KFC has delicious Mashed Potatoes and Coleslaw. They are great for picnics, as you can buy them in bulk, and it is easy to get carried away with rather large servings. The Potato Wedges are gross, and are usually soggy. They taste like wet cardboard, if you can imagine eating that, and are topped with something resembling Old Bay Seasoning. Also be sure to avoid the Beans and Rice, as well as any of the vegetable items. I've never had more hideous freezer burned corn or green beans, and it can ruin any otherwise unsavory meal even worse.
Service has been fairly decent at most locations, but wait times can stretch your patience. The Drive Thru locations have been horrible in this regard as well, and I cannot count how many times my order has been wrong. Cleanliness is another concern, as many of their establishments could use some extra help in this regard. Many of the dining areas have been messy, and a couple of All You Can Eat locations, have been like something out of the Third World. There have been a couple of times, even during the middle of a day, where I have walked into one and immediately left.
I would not recommend KFC, due to these issues, that cannot be overlooked. While it would be acceptable to have some items that are inconsistent, they make too many mistakes with food quality and having dirty restaurants. I honestly do not understand how they can stay in business with better competitors, and it is a shame that there is not another Colonel Sanders at the helm. Until they get their act together, KFC is a second rate place to eat, and I will not go there unless it is the only place in town. Even then I will not be happy, as it has too many problems, to be an acceptable option for a quick lunch or dinner.