KFC's new Go Cup is a brilliant idea

People love to eat in their cars. So how has no one come up with this concept before?

By MSN Money Partner Oct 18, 2013 3:28PM

By Stephen Key, Entrepreneur.comEntrepreneur.com


When students of my entrepreneurship course ask me, "How can I come up with more good ideas?" I always tell them to study the marketplace.


KFC's new 'Go Cup' (© KFC - Kentucky Fried Chicken via Facebook)

I believe great innovations evolve from studying products that already exist in the market, thinking about how they can be improved and asking: What do consumers need and want?


It's really that simple. And that's why I write over and over again about how important it is to research and understand buying habits before you come up with new ideas. Recently, a major fast food corporation really drove that point home for me. KFC, as you might have read or seen on TV, debuted an ingenious new product this month: the Go Cup.

I'm a product designer so when I read that the Go Cup, which holds smaller, snack-sized portions of food, fits 83 percent of all car cup holders, my mind was blown.


KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands (YUM), spent two years designing this product. It has a slit at the bottom that can be collapsed to fit different car cup holders, because there is no industry-standard size or design.


The Go Cup also conveniently separates the different kinds of food you order from co-mingling. It costs less -- about half the price of the cheapest meal that was on the KFC menu -- and includes five different varieties.


I couldn't help asking myself: How has no one come up with this idea before? It seems so obvious. People love to eat in their cars because it's fast and convenient. Why not make the process less messy? They weren't reinventing the wheel, just thinking about how to enhance what was already out there. 


Another important lesson: KFC didn't just rely on an assumption that their consumers yearned for a snack that was easier to eat in their cars. Its team gathered data that proved that a new innovation was needed. It learned that consumers wanted a snack that was a protein, portable, sold for a low price and that didn't need utensils.


At the same time, KFC knew that about half its sales were being made by drive-through customers. And according a consumer research firm that surveys eating behavior, Americans order 21 percent of all their meals from their cars. That's an enormous market.


KFC did its research. And it delivered a product that is going to be a smash, if the media blitz that has erupted in response is any indication. The Go Cups even look like mini buckets -- they managed to extend their brand even while debuting a new line.


Examples of great, marketplace-based product design are all around us. Just keep looking for them.

More from Entrepreneur

Oct 18, 2013 4:28PM

Now that KFC has their first marketable idea in decades, maybe they can start working on their horrendous customer service that has been driving customers like me away.

Oct 18, 2013 4:22PM

Now if they could make a bucket of chicken that attaches to your face, possibly with handles that strap over your ears.....including a see- through bottom with a straw- slit.


You'd be able to eat, drink, text & drive all at the same time!


(better call my patent attorney, asap)

Oct 18, 2013 4:57PM

When KFC did away with the word "Kentucky" and the image of its founder, Colonel Harlan Sanders, I decided that their chicken was no longer worth eating.

Oct 18, 2013 6:49PM
  They also need to work on their Chicken, the taste, the size of the pieces and the high prices.  I worked for KFC for years as a cook and a relief manager and the chicken never tasted like it does now.  It actually had great flavor.   I even wrote and called them about how flavorless it has gotten.  When I worked for them, Colonel Sanders would make the rounds and if everything wasn't just right, he would shut down the store till it was.  When I call and wrote the company, I told them the Colonel is probably spinning in his grave at what has happened to his ingenious recipe and idea.  They never responded back... of coarse.  The store has since closed down.  The closest one is 10 miles away.  Surprise...NOT !!!
Oct 18, 2013 5:45PM
<p><b>Dear KFC</b></p> how about you go back to your recipes and how you made your chicken during the 1970's that way I'm encouraged to come in, sit down and use my Wet nap Safely..
Oct 18, 2013 6:44PM
when i was a kid we didn't eat in the car. we got the food and went to a park or something with a picnic table.
Oct 18, 2013 4:57PM

On the TV commercial for this Go Cup it is full to the brim with food, you get it and it has about 7 fries and the hardest chickenless pieces of chicken bites ever.    Also as you eat and drive on the hard crunchy pieces be careful not to break a tooth.


Oct 18, 2013 5:19PM
Great idea. That small cup makes their pigeon sized chickens look bigger.
Oct 18, 2013 4:26PM

Very convenient.  Unfortunately, someone will get in a car accident while they are eating their KFC GoCup and sue.  

Oct 18, 2013 6:16PM

Mr. Key,

I'm not surprised you're gaga over this idea from your point of view. But the "food" KFC puts in it is far from a guaranteed hit with consumers.

Just another example of downsizing the (inedible) portion(s) and increasing the price to create more profit. Do you really think we are so blind as to not see thru this ploy?

A whole fried chicken and side dishes, that is better tasting, fresher and cheaper can be purchased from most grocery stores.   

Oct 18, 2013 5:15PM
Oct 18, 2013 5:45PM
Just liquefy the chicken, taters and gravy then people on the go could drink it through a straw. 
Oct 18, 2013 3:57PM
I think it is a good idea, but if that is in my cupholder, I wont be able to put my drink anywhere because mine are too close together.
Oct 18, 2013 8:37PM
they could make good chicken again.....nah to easy
Oct 18, 2013 5:10PM
If these cups were edible I would definitely think about getting one
Oct 18, 2013 10:43PM
OKaaay - Now you have your food in the cup holder, where do you put your drink?
Oct 18, 2013 5:33PM
My wife ordered food and brought it home and it looked as if someone dumped a cup of grease that already turned white on the chicken, the next step for me was a P&J sandwich and throw away the chicken!
Oct 18, 2013 7:47PM
stupid idea.  just more plastic for thee landfills and roadsides.
Oct 18, 2013 6:44PM
America our USA,,,,They want us to run on "FAST FOOD" More and MORE every day that passes ..And they want US to be a more and more a fast food culture fast cheap semi nutritional....And Export it  Worldwide  They want Everything  FAST and CHEAP!!!Computers movies traffic  food  CHEAP cheap cheap speed speed SPEED  FAST  FAST FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bon Appetit !!!
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