Is KFC’s new Double Down the most talked about sandwich in history? There hasn’t been this much furor over lunch meat since Mama Cass choked on that infamous ham sandwich 36 years ago. But contrary to what all the bloggers are saying, the Double Down is unlikely to kill you. The entire world is apparently shocked shocked that KFC’s new sandwich does away with the bun and replaces it with two slabs of fried chicken. That’s right. The Double Down features bacon, cheese and special sauce squeezed between to boneless white chicken fillets. Oh, the humanity! Vegan groups are calling it a crime against food. And a group of doctors is confronting KFC over the sandwich, urging the company to keep the ads away from kids. But really, it’s a sandwich we’re talking about. A sandwich. And it’s not even that unhealthy, at least relative to other fast foods. The ‘original recipe’ Double Down has 540 calories and 32 grams of fat, while the grilled chicken version has only 460 calories. That’s less than half the calories of the Wendy’s Triple with Everything and Cheese, which tips the scales at 960 calories. The only people not taking offense at the Double Down are the ones KFC cares about the most: guys ages 18 to 25. Like Jasper Cheng, a high school senior from Staten Island, New York. “Whoa, look at all that grease,” he told his hometown newspaper. “There’s no place for vegetables.” Or whiners.
Retiring Ronald? Should Mickey D’s give Ronald McDonald a gold watch and send him off into the sunset, never to be seen again? A new activist group thinks so, and they’ve launched a website and released a poll to support their position. “For nearly 50 years no one has been better at hooking kids on unhealthy food, spurring an epidemic of diet-related disease,” says RetireRonald.org. “Ronald deserves a break, and so do we!” The group released a new poll that found that 52 percent of respondents want corporations to stop using cartoons characters to sell harmful products to children, and that 47 percent want Ronald to be put out to pasture. McDonald’s, not surprising, says it has absolutely no plans to retire its “beloved brand ambassador”. Personally, we don’t care one way or the other. But we do love the Hamburglar. So don’t even think about getting rid of him. Oh, wait a minute. They already did.
A lending hand. The money market for franchisees all but dried up last year when one of the biggest lenders, CIT Group, fell into bankruptcy. But now a new operator, Bankcorp Bank, is stepping in to fill the void. The company, with $2 billion in assets, said it is rolling out a lending program specifically for new and expanding franchises. The bank says it plans to select 30 franchise brands and start doling out loans through the SBA’s guaranteed lending programs. The news comes not a moment too soon. Lending to franchisees plummeted 36 percent to $7.5 billion in 2009 from $11.7 billion in 2008, according to franchise research firm FRANdata. Franchise lending is projected to fall even further this year, to $6.7 billion.