Kenny Rogers Roasters

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Kenny Rogers Roasters
TypeRestaurant chain
Founded1991; 32 years ago (1991)
United States
Number of locations
156 (worldwide)[1]
Area served
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, China, Indonesia, India, Brunei, Cambodia, Dubai, Thailand (Phuket)
OwnerBerjaya Corporation[2] (International) (Malaysia) (Philippines) (Dubai)

Kenny Rogers Roasters is a chain of chicken-based restaurants founded in 1991 by country musician Kenny Rogers and former KFC CEO John Y. Brown Jr., who was a former governor of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Brown had been an early investor in Kentucky Fried Chicken from 1964 to 1971. During his successful music career, Rogers had appeared in several commercials for the Dole Food Company before founding this restaurant chain.

Country singer Kenny Rogers, who founded the restaurant chain

The menu of Kenny Rogers Roasters originally featured wood-fired rotisserie chicken. After closing all of its U.S. operations and a series of ownership changes, Kenny Rogers Roasters operates principally in Asia as part of Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya Corporation Berhad. The Kenny Rogers Roasters brand is owned by Kenny Rogers Roasters International Corporation, a subsidiary of Roasters Asia Pacific (Cayman) Limited which itself is owned by Berjaya Corporation Berhad.[3]


The first Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida
A typical Kenny Rogers's plate

John Y. Brown Jr., a business entrepreneur from the commonwealth of Kentucky had worked with the restaurant chains KFC and Lum's. After serving as Governor of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983, Brown decided to return to the restaurant business. He chose to start a chicken restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida, in 1991, forming a partnership with country music singer Kenny Rogers who had previously released his own cook book. The first store opened in September 1991, and Rogers himself was present at the opening. Kenny Rogers Roasters was one of several restaurants to open in southern Florida that year, owing to the popularity of grilled chicken both in that particular market and nationwide.[4]

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, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.[5][6]

Kenny Rogers Roasters found itself in competition with Boston Chicken (later Boston Market) and several smaller roasted chicken chains.[7] Kentucky Fried Chicken also introduced a roasted chicken line of products called Rotisserie Gold to compete with Roasters and Boston Chicken.[7] In December 1992, Clucker's, a minor player in the roasted chicken market, sued Kenny Rogers Roasters, claiming the chain had copied its recipes and menus.[8] The lawsuit continued until Kenny Rogers Roasters purchased a majority stake in Cluckers in August 1994.[6][8] Brown expanded the company to a chain of more than 425 restaurants before selling his interest in the franchise to the Malaysia-based Berjaya Group in 1996.[9]

In 1994, two restaurants were opened in Athens, Greece. However both were closed only a couple of years later[5][10][11]

In 1996, the chain announced plans to open in the United Kingdom and purchased locations in various cities. At this point, annual sales topped $300 million. However, the planned restaurants in Britain never materialized.[12]

A former Kenny Rogers Roasters in Saginaw, Michigan

The company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 1998[13] and was bought by Nathan's Famous, Inc. for $1.25 million[14][15] (US$2 million in more recent terms) on April 1, 1999; as a result of restructuring, many locations closed. Rotisserie-roasted chicken had become commonplace in many food supermarkets. By 2000, the chain was down to 90 franchised restaurants, 40 of those in the U.S.

Nathan's Famous divested itself of Kenny Rogers Roasters in 2008, selling it to their Asian franchisee, Roasters Asia Pacific (Cayman) Limited,[16] a company which is owned by Berjaya Group of Malaysia.[2] The last Kenny Rogers Roasters operating in North America was located in the Ontario Mills mall in Ontario, California, which closed on December 31, 2011.[17]

The 2008 purchase agreement allowed for[18] Nathan's Famous and Miami Subs to continue selling Kenny Rogers Roasters items in their restaurants.[19] Nathan's continues to serve Kenny Rogers Roasters items in select locations, such as its flagship location on Coney Island.[20] Miami Subs (since sold off by Nathan's) no longer has a "Kenny Rogers" section on their menu.[21]

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 in 2011[22] reported that Kenny Rogers Roasters had grown to almost 140 restaurants across Asia, with continued expansion in Malaysia,[23] the Philippines,[24] 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.[25]

In March 2011, Berjaya Food Berhad listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. Effectively, Berjaya Food Berhad is responsible for establishing, operating, and expanding Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants in Malaysia. This includes developing the Kenny Rogers Roasters brand, managing menu items, and acting as a central procurement agent for Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants across Malaysia.

Restaurant concept and menu[edit]

As a brand, Kenny Rogers Roasters advocates healthy eating as reflected in its brand tag line "less fat...less salt...less calories".[26] -- compared to fried chicken.

Number of restaurants and countries of operation[edit]

Kenny Rogers Roasters, Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kenny Rogers Roasters, Robinsons Place Manila, Manila, Philippines
Kenny Rogers Roasters, NU Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In its 2012 Annual Report, Berjaya Corporation Berhad reported that as of April 30, 2012, Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants numbered 74 in Malaysia and 8 in Indonesia.[27] It was also mentioned that Roasters Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Limited has operations in other countries including the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.

In addition, Roasters Asia Pacific has been undergoing expansion in other international territories including India and the Middle East. Kenny Rogers Roasters opened its first outlet in Brunei in January 2013.[28] The second Brunei outlet was opened at Tanjung Bunut in June 2015.

Kenny Rogers Roasters started operations in Bangladesh in December 2012 with a restaurant in Gulshan, Dhaka. They terminated their operation in Bangladesh in 2018.

In June 2014, Kenny Rogers opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the Aeon Mall. This was the chain's first location in Cambodia.

The Kenny Rogers Roasters expansion to the United Arab Emirates happened in June 2015 at Al-Karama, Dubai.

In December 2016, the first KRR opened in Thailand in the Laguna area of Phuket. There are currently plans to open other restaurants within Phuket and then into other parts of Thailand as well.[29]

In popular culture[edit]

Kenny Rogers Roasters is the center of an episode of Seinfeld, "The Chicken Roaster". After a branch opens in the neighborhood, Kramer cannot sleep due to its neon sign shining through his window, so he hangs up a banner to drive it out of business. The branch shuts down at the end of the episode when Jerry unintentionally sabotages it with a soaked rat hat.[6] The story was inspired by a real-life confrontation between a New York City branch of Kenny Rogers Roasters and a neighboring law office.[30]

On the HBO show The Sopranos, Kenny Rogers Roasters is referenced as the restaurant where Janice Soprano served former NFL star Barry Sanders while working there as a waitress.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Branches". Philippines: Kenny Rogers Roasters. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Berjaya Group Berhad – Group Structures – Food & Beverages". Berjaya Group. September 8, 2009. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "Berjaya Corporation Berhad – Food & Beverage Division". Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "Pecking order". South Florida Sun Sentinel. September 6, 1991. pp. D!. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Kenny Rogers Roasters signs foreign development deal". November 2, 1993.
  6. ^ a b c Burginger, Lyndsay (August 5, 2020). "Whatever Happened to Kenny Rogers Roasters?". Wide Open Eats. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Stouffer, "A High Stakes Game of Chicken"
  8. ^ a b Seline, "Clucker's is First Casualty in Chicken Wars"
  9. ^ Hutt, "Kenny Rogers Wants to Take Name with Him from Bankrupt Roaster Chain"
  10. ^ "Greek Fast Food Making a Robust Comeback : Merchandising: Once-scorned souvlaki has taken its place alongside the Big Mac. An international campaign is likely". Reuters. April 20, 1995.
  11. ^ Νικηφόρου, Ρομίνα (December 17, 2020). "Οι αλυσίδες εστίασης που δεν "άντεξαν" στην Ελλάδα". (in Greek). Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  12. ^ "Kenny Rogers ready to roast in UK". The Caterer. November 23, 1999.
  13. ^ Katherine Hutt (March 28, 1998). "Roasters Lays an Egg, Files for Chapter 11". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  14. ^ Strugatch, Warren (April 6, 2003). "L.I.@WORK; Nathan's Builds on Its Core Product, Hot Dogs". The New York Times. New York City.
  15. ^ "Nathan's Bid Up For Vote". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. January 6, 1999. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  16. ^ "Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement". TechAgreements. April 23, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  17. ^ Plessel, John (December 31, 2011). "Ontario Mills' Big Food gets much, much smaller". Dine 909.
  18. ^ Section 2.13(a) of Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement.
  19. ^ Section 2.13(c) of Kenny Rogers Roasters Purchase Agreement.
  20. ^ "Dinner at Kenny Rogers Roasters on Coney Island". Fast Food NYC. Archived from the original on September 3, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  21. ^ "Miami Subs Grill Menu". Miami Subs. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  22. ^ Brenhouse, Hillary (July 26, 2011). "The Secret Second Life of Kenny Rogers Roasters … in Asia". Hong Kong: Time Magazine. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012.
  23. ^ "Kenny Rogers Roasters Malaysia". Berjaya Roasters. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  24. ^ "Kenny Rogers Roasters Philippines". Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  25. ^ "Berjaya Food Berhad". Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  26. ^ "Kenny Rogers Roasters Menu". Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  27. ^ "Berjaya Corporation Berhad – 2012 Annual Report (p24-25)". Berjaya Corporation Berhad. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  28. ^ "Kenny Rogers Roasters Opens Outlet in Giant, Rimba". The Brunei Times. March 15, 2013. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  29. ^ "Enjoy a healthy family-style feast at the new Kenny Rogers Roasters in Phuket". The Phuket News. December 24, 2016.
  30. ^ Smith, Ernie (March 28, 2017). "Boom, Roasted". Tedium. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  31. ^ "Great Sports Quotes From "The Sopranos"". Sports Business Journal. June 7, 2007. Retrieved June 23, 2022. What a shame Barry Sanders retired. He's a real sweetheart. A.J., did you tell your dad and your grandpa how I served him when I was a waitress at Kenny Rogers?