KFC tries to make good on free meals

On Tuesday, Winfrey announced on her show that coupons for two free pieces of KFC's grilled chicken, two individual side orders and a biscuit would be available on her website, Oprah.com, for 24 hours.

The response was so overwhelming that some KFC restaurants ran out of the free food. KFC says it gave away millions of meals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and part of Thursday. Some of its restaurants had to get extra help to deal with the crowds that showed up.

To smooth things out, the chain decided to offer rain checks for the free meals. KFC's president says mail coupons will now be sent out in stages, and they include a free soft drink to sweeten the deal.

KFC President Roger Eaton says the frenzy associated with the limited time offer isn't the experience KFC wants for its customers. It is hoping that people will find a more peaceful setting when they cash in the coupons they get in the mail.

KFC, known for fried chicken, launched its free meal promotion to publicize its new grilled chicken menu items. The chain won't say how much the free chicken giveaway cost, because it's part of a larger marketing campaign. Eaton says the cost of the giveaway is relatively small compared to the value of getting people to taste the new product

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