KFC to open franchises in Israel at end of month; one catch, they won’t be kosher

Not all Israelis will be lining up to get some of Colonel Sander’s chicken because the restaurants will not be kosher.

By World Israel News Staff

Israelis will be once again getting a taste of KFC’s “finger-lickin’ good” chicken, reported Israel’s Mako news outlet on Sunday.

According to the report, the first branch is expected to open in Nazareth at the end of December, and locations are being negotiated for additional branches across the country.

KFC’s entry and operations within the Jewish State will be headed by Business Development Director Omer Zeidner at Yum! Restaurants, an American fast food corporation group that also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Zeidner told The Jerusalem Post that Nazareth is a “prime location for the brand” because it is a “bustling city with local and international tourists,” and this time the parent company, not a local franchisee will manage the new locations.

This will be the fourth time that KFC will be entering the Israeli market. The fast-food chain failed to establish itself successfully in the 1980s, the 1990s and between 2003 and 2012.

However, not all Israelis will be lining up to get some of Colonel Sander’s chicken because the restaurants will not be kosher.

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Udi Shamai, who ran eight franchises until 2012, told Globes in February that staying kosher is what led to his downfall.

“The moment we switched to kosher, sales began to plunge and it was no longer economically viable,” Shamai said. “The product was less good, whereas things had gone fine with unkosher chickens.”

In 2009, KFC opened restaurants in cities controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and as of 2016 KFC operates in Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin, and Ramallah.

In case there is doubt about KFC’s popularity in the region, in 2013 The New York Times reported that a food delivery service in Egypt coordinated a KFC order to Gaza that required the involvement of two taxis, an international border, and a smuggling tunnel.