Kentucky Fried Chicken has been one of our clients for more than 10 years. We have worked on projects and brand initiatives large and small, but no single project has the scale and literal visibility as the “The Big Chicken” – which boasts an iconic 56-foot-tall chicken sculpture as its main architectural expression. Situated in the heart of Marietta, Georgia, this roadside beacon has been a landmark since construction started in 1956 and a flagship KFC destination since 1966. Still used as a guide to help direct pilots, The Big Chicken has captivated locals and passersby on their way to and from family vacations – forever etched in the hearts and minds of any and all that stop in for a bucket of chicken.
When the opportunity was presented to develop a renovated KFC prototype around the existing marvel, the project quickly became a dream come true for our design team. The icon already did a portion of the heavy lifting, but we needed to dial up the rest of the guest (and employee) experience to be worthy of The Big Chicken. Starting with the foundation of what we helped establish with the American Showman prototype, the site offered us an ideal scenario to riff off the momentum of the brands current advertising campaign and dial up their irreverent, tongue-in-cheek feistiness for their built experience.
We conceptualized ideas on how Colonel Sanders himself would have approached this opportunity. We started by unifying the site with big, bold architectural and graphic expressions that utilize real wood and hand painted finishes. The team looked for ways to guide and direct guests on a purposeful journey with embedded moments of honest-to-goodness hospitality. We considered opportunities to honor the iconic Big Chicken throughout the dining experience in space planning, brand communication and even a small retail display. Photo-ops help set the stage for social media shares and extend the flagship KFC experience beyond the walls of the restaurant. And lastly, since this particular site is core to the identity of the local neighborhood, we embedded touchpoints that honor and celebrate Marietta, GA and provide locals with a home away from home.
The Colonel himself would have had it no other way!
Here are a handful of photos that capture the Grand Opening celebration and ribbon cutting as well as some of our first snaps of the restaurant.