Kenny Rogers Roasters
The logo used since 2012
Number of locations
|Malaysia, Philippines, China, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Dubai|
Kenny Rogers Roasters is a chain of chicken-based restaurants. It was founded in 1991 by country musician Kenny Rogers and former KFC CEO John Y. Brown, Jr., who is a former governor of the U.S. state of Kentucky. John Y. Brown Jr. had also been an investor in Kentucky Fried Chicken from 1964 to 1971.
The menu of Kenny Rogers Roasters was originally centered on wood-fired rotisserie chicken. After closing all of its U.S. operations and a series of ownership changes, Kenny Rogers Roasters now operates principally in Asia and is now part of Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya Corporation Berhad. The Kenny Rogers Roasters brand comes under a worldwide franchise owned by Kenny Rogers Roasters International Corporation, a subsidiary of Roasters Asia Pacific (Cayman) Limited which itself is owned by Berjaya Corporation Berhad.
In 1991, country singer/songwriter Kenny Rogers ventured into the fast-food business and co-founded Kenny Rogers Roasters with former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown, Jr. Kenny Rogers Roasters opened its first restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida in August 1991.
By 1995, the menu had expanded to include turkey, ribs, and various side dishes. The chain eventually grew to over 350 restaurants, including locations in Canada, the Middle East and Asia. The establishment became so well known an entire episode of Seinfeld ("The Chicken Roaster") was dedicated to Kramer's love of Kenny Rogers Roasters chicken which started after he and Jerry Seinfeld switched apartments due to a bright red neon light shining through Kramer's window so he could not sleep.
Roasters found itself in competition with Boston Chicken (later Boston Market) and several smaller roasted chicken chains. Kentucky Fried Chicken also introduced a roasted chicken line of products called Rotisserie Gold to compete with Roasters and Boston Chicken. In December 1992, Clucker's, a smaller player in the roasted chicken market, sued Kenny Rogers Roasters, claiming the chain had copied its recipes and menus. The lawsuit continued until Roasters purchased a majority stake in Cluckers in August 1994. Brown expanded it to a chain of more than 425 restaurants before selling his interest in the franchise to the Malaysia-based Berjaya Group in 1996.
In 1996 it was reported that the chain was to open in the United Kingdom, having purchased locations in various cities. At this point annual sales topped $300 million. However, the planned openings in Britain never materialized.
The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 1998 and was bought by Nathan's Famous, Inc. for U.S.$1.25 million (US$2 million in more recent terms) on April 1, 1999; as a result of restructuring, many locations closed. By 2000, the chain was down to 90 franchised restaurants, 40 of those in the U.S.
Nathan's Famous divested itself of the chain in 2008, selling it to their Asian franchiser, Roasters Asia Pacific (Cayman) Limited, a company which is owned by Berjaya Group of Malaysia. The last Kenny Rogers Roasters operating in North America was located in the Ontario Mills mall in Ontario, California; it closed on December 31, 2011.
The 2008 purchase agreement allowed for Nathan's Famous and Miami Subs to continue selling Kenny Rogers Roasters items in their restaurants. Nathan's continues to serve Kenny Rogers Roasters items in select locations, such as its flagship location on Coney Island, Miami Subs (since sold off by Nathan's) no longer has a "Kenny Rogers" section on their menu.
Despite the chain's end in the United States, Kenny Rogers Roasters continues to flourish in Asia under the ownership of Berjaya Group. An article published by Time.com in 2011 reported that Kenny Rogers Roasters had grown to almost 140 restaurants across Asia, with continued expansion in Malaysia, the Philippines, and more recently southern China.
In Malaysia, the Kenny Rogers Roasters chain of restaurants is developed and operated by Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd. Under a corporate exercise by Berjaya Corporation Berhad in 2011, Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd became a wholly owned subsidiary of Berjaya Food Berhad.
In March 2011, Berjaya Food Berhad listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. Effectively, Berjaya Food Berhad is responsible for the establishment, operation and expansion of Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants in Malaysia. This includes the development of the Kenny Rogers Roasters brand, management of menu items and acting as central procurement agent for Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants across Malaysia.
As a brand, Kenny Rogers Roasters advocates healthy eating as reflected in its brand tag line "less fat...less salt...less calories".
Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants offer a casual dining environment with rotisserie roasted chicken as the main core item, while complemented by a variety of hot and cold side dishes. These dishes include muffins, jacket potatoes, vegetable salads, pastas, soups, desserts and beverages.
Fresh chickens are marinated with citrus, herbs and spices. They are then rotated in a wood-fired rotisserie, allowing fat to escape, while sealing in the roasted flavor.
Number of restaurants and countries of operation
In its 2012 Annual Report, Berjaya Corporation Berhad reported that as at April 30, 2012, Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants numbered 74 in Malaysia and 8 in Indonesia.
It was also mentioned that the countries in which Roasters Asia Pacific (Hong Kong). Limited have operations include the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Philippines and Bangladesh.
In addition, Roasters Asia Pacific had also been undergoing expansion in other international territories which include India and the Middle East. In 2013, Kenny Rogers Roasters opened its first outlet in Brunei on January 2013. The second outlet for Brunei was opened at Tanjung Bunut in June 2015.
In June 2014, Kenny Rogers opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the Aeon Mall. It is its first location in Cambodia.
The Kenny Rogers Roasters expansion to UAE happened in June 2015 at Al-Karama, Dubai.
In pop culture
In 1996, an episode of the American television sitcom Seinfeld centered on the opening of a Kenny Rogers Roasters location. The character, Kramer, at first opposes the establishment due to a gigantic neon light of chicken display causing issues in his apartment before he later became obsessed with the chicken, with Newman quoting the tagline: "It's the wood that makes it good".
In the Beastie Boys song "Long Burn The" from Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, Adrock raps "I'll make you sick like a Kenny Rogers Roaster."
Awards and recognition
Kenny Rogers Roasters has been a recipient of the following awards:
- American's Choice Award for the Best Chicken Chain by Restaurants and Institutions Magazine for three consecutive years (1996, 1997 & 1998).
- Master Franchisee of the Year by the Malaysian Franchise Association for two consecutive periods (2000/2001 and 2002/2003) and also for 2009.
- The BrandLaureate Award for Best Brands in Food & Beverage in 2011 and 2012.
- Roasters Asia Pacific also received the Asia Pacific International Honesty Enterprise – Keris Award for 2006 and 2007.
- "Branches". Philippines: Kenny Rogers Roasters. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Berjaya Group Berhad – Group Structures – Food & Beverages". Berjaya Group. September 8, 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Berjaya Corporation Berhad – Food & Beverage Division". berjaya.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "About Kenny Rogers Roasters: The Beginning". Kenny Rogers Roasters International. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- Stouffer, "A High Stakes Game of Chicken"
- Seline, "Clucker's is First Casualty in Chicken Wars"
- Hutt, "Kenny Rogers Wants to Take Name with Him from Bankrupt Roaster Chain"
- Katherine Hutt (March 28, 1998). "Roasters Lays an Egg, Files for Chapter 11". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
- Frumkin, Paul (March 27, 2000). "Nathan's is red-hot for growth, serves up diversity with new brands". Nation's Restaurant News. New York City: Lebhar-Friedman, Inc. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Nathan's Bid Up For Vote". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Sun-Sentinel.com. January 6, 1999. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
- Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement, TechAgreements. Retrieved on 2009-06-29
- Ontario Mills' Big Food gets much, much smaller John Plessel, insidesocal.com, December 31, 2011
- Section 2.13(a) of Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement, TechAgreements. Retrieved on 2009-06-29
- Section 2.13(c) of Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement, TechAgreements. Retrieved on 2009-06-29
- Dinner at Kenny Rogers Roasters on Coney Island. Fast Food NYC. Retrieved on 2009-06-29.
- Miami Subs Grill Menu via Miami Subs website. Last updated November 18, 2008 Retrieved 2009-11-03
- Brenhouse, Hillary (July 26, 2011). "The Secret Second Life of Kenny Rogers Roasters … in Asia". Time.com.
- "Kenny Rogers ROASTERS Malaysia". krr.com.my. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- "Kenny Rogers Roasters Philippines". Kennys.com.ph. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "Berjaya Food Berhad". berjaya.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "Kenny Rogers Roasters Menu". Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- "Berjaya Corporation Berhad – 2012 Annual Report (p24-25)". Berjaya Corporation Berhad. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "Kenny Rogers Roasters Opens Outlet in Giant, Rimba". The Brunei Times. March 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- "Kenny Rogers Roasters Brand Laureate Award". The BrandLaureate Awards. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- "Roasters AP Keris Award". Kenny Rogers International. Retrieved 2013-08-14.