An unknown number of KFC employees were issued pink slips Thursday at parent company Yum! Brands' headquarters in Louisville, Ky.
During the most recent earnings report, KFC's U.S. sales were down 3 percent.
Karen Sherman, senior director of communications at KFC Corp., told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the decision was made to reduce cost and maximize efficiencies.
Yum! Brands issued layoffs at KFC in 2009, as well, and began a more aggressive refranchising effort, selling company-owned stores to franchisees in order to reduce costs.
David Novak, Yum! Brands' CEO, outlined a turnaround strategy for the KFC brand a little more than a year ago, which included a greater focus on operations, bone-in chicken and grilled chicken. The grilled chicken line generates about 15 percent of the brand's sales.
KFC is also navigating an increasingly crowded chicken sub-segment, with the expansion of Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, and leadership changes at Church's Chicken. Traditional burger chains have also stepped up their chicken offerings in response to a higher demand for healthier menus.
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