Breast in peace: Yellowknife’s KFC closes its doors for good

Yellowknife KFC
Inside the old KFC on its final day of operation. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff.)
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KFC chicked out of Yellowknife at midnight on Sunday.

After 47 years in the city, the Colonel’s last stand saw ravenous residents consume thousands of chicken pieces, ransacking the franchise’s reserves.

Though owner Matt Jason insisted he had enough meat to meet demand, Yellowknifers had emptied the building of chicken on the bone by late Saturday.

List of KFC items
Supplies dwindled on Sunday.

Other chicken-based products like sandwiches and subs remained available on Sunday, if you weren’t so set on traditional KFC menu items.

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Lines snaked out of the door on both Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, Jason had predicted sales volumes 50 percent higher, or more, than an average weekend. Since announcing its closure in July, the franchise has been trading at volumes approaching double its sales from this time last year.

“It’s definitely been busier, that’s for sure. People have been scrambling in there, trying to get their last bit of KFC,” Jason told Moose FM ahead of the weekend.

“Everyone I talk to is pleading with me lately, like this has to be a big joke and can’t be happening for real. We’re scrambling to get our chicken in and keep up with the orders.”

July 2015: Yellowknife’s KFC is dead – long live Lenny Burger

Jason and his sister shut down the operation, which ran for five decades in Yellowknife, as they no longer felt KFC nationally was heading in a direction they could support.

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They’ll open their own venture, named Lenny Burger after their father’s former Yellowknife cafe, in its place.

A Mary Brown’s chicken franchise could also, reportedly, be established in the near future by a separate operator elsewhere in the city.

Yellowknife KFC
The empty dining room of Yellowknife’s KFC.
Sign at Yellowknife's KFC
A sign hanging behind the counter at Yellowknife’s KFC on Sunday.

Over the past month, the news of KFC’s demise has drawn a reaction from locals that surprised Jason.

“I knew it was going to be a big deal, to a point, but I didn’t know everyone was going to go that overboard about it,” he said.

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“Especially when it came to taking the bucket down – like, you’ve got to be kidding me, man. You’d think we were taking down some kind of monument from the city that’s been standing for years.

“But all the people sharing stories from the past – it’s pretty much all the stuff we’re not allowed to do [by KFC headquarters] any more, like sending orders to places and our own burgers. It’s all stuff we can’t do, that’s been gone for a while.”

Lenny Burger: What was it like at the old Lenny Burger in the 1980s?

KFC bucket: What will happen next to the giant bucket sign?

Lenny Burger is still on for a Christmas opening, although Jason admitted it’s hard to guarantee they’ll hit that deadline. By next summer, the plan is for the new restaurant to be licensed and feature a patio.

“There was more positive feedback about that than there was negative about KFC. I was actually surprised,” said Jason. “People were stoked about the Lenny Burger.

“And for anyone that’s so worried about losing their chicken: we’re still doing chicken. For all they know, it might be better.”

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