WHILE some of us remember Kenny Rogers as an iconic singer (and so-so actor) who moved us with his storytelling style of country songs (Lucille, The Gambler, Coward of the County), country crossover hits (Lady, She Believes In Me, Islands In The Stream) and pop numbers (We Got Tonight), some people associate his name with really good chicken.
Many celebrities have tried their hand at getting into the restaurant business, and legendary singer Kenny Rogers was one of them.
In 1991 along with former KFC CEO John Y. Brown Jr, the very first Kenny Rogers Roasters opened in Coral Springs, Florida.
This was followed by a string of Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants in the US.
Back then, the chicken was roasted over wood fire and patrons could sees the delicious glistening rotisserie chicken slowly spinning behind the glass wall near the entrance of the restaurant. The tag line “It’s the wood that makes it good” stuck in our minds.
In fact it was even featured on hugely popular TV sitcom Seinfeld, in which the characters Kramer and Newman were depicted as being addicted to the delicious chicken.
Not only was KRR serving a succulent, flavourful and healthier style of chicken, but the fantastic side dishes (some of us can’t get enough of their coleslaw) that customers can pick and choose as well as freshly made muffins, made KRR stand out from other family restaurants.
In 1994 the very first KRR opened in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysians have been hooked on it ever since.
KRR no longer operates in the US, with its last store closing down in 2011. However in 2008 Berjaya Corporation bought the Asian franchise rights, and KRR continues to flourish across Asia.
The franchise is currently run by Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd. Not only are there KRR outlets across Malaysia but also in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and India.
On March 20, 2020, Rogers passed away peacefully in his home in Georgia at the age of 81.
“Our heartfelt condolences to the family of Kenny Rogers, our beloved founder,” said Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn Bhd senior marketing manager Kennie Thong. “We at KRR are proud to be a part of his legacy. We celebrate his life by continuing to do what we do best, serving up delicious meals and experiences that KRR is known for in Malaysia and beyond.”
Thong added: “Today, KRR’s brand positioning of being ‘Deliciously Healthy’ resonates with our guests who are looking for a meal that is both healthy and delicious, plus a great dining experience on top of that.”
Over the years the KRR menu has evolved, and while oven roasted chicken has long replaced wood, KRR continues to draw in customers with seasonal flavours such as Seoul Sedap Chikin, Garlic Butter Chicken and Creamy I-Yam Special.