The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

The Surprising Resilience of Failed Fast Food Chains

While Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream” partner Dolly Parton found success with a theme park, Kenny Rogers agreed to let his likeness become the face of an entirely different operation: a rotisserie chicken chain.

The chain began in 1991 thanks in part to former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown, who had turned KFC into an international success. And, at first, Kenny Rogers Roasters was on the same track; by 1994, the company already had 109 locations.

But the chain’s reputation never quite lived up to its predecessor, so much so that at one point in 1996 one New York City lawyer put a sign directly above the store with a simple message: “Bad Food.” (The incident also inspired one of Seinfeld’s best episodes.)

So it wasn’t a surprise then, when the chain eventually faltered, and, by 1998, Rogers himself was trying to disassociate himself.

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