Plucky chicken shop’s win over KFC
NEVER underestimate the little guy.
A Melbourne small business owner has hit back and won against a major fast food corporation after a billboard advertiser slapped a massive KFC sign on the front of his building.
Jim Hally, who runs a small family-owned stripshop called Chicken Central in Hawthorn, arrived at work last Friday morning to find a massive sign from his fast food competitor plastered on the side of his shop's wall.
"KFC only 800m away," the sign reads. "Bucket. Why not?"
Mr Hally, who has operated the chicken shop for almost a decade, told news.com.au he initially thought it was game over for his business.
"At the start I thought, 'I'm ruined because of KFC'. Especially these days with all these food delivery apps, I was like … yeah, I'm going to be struggling. I was pretty upset when I saw it."
It's not easy being a small-business owner. Mr Hally says he puts in seven days and 90 hours a week to keep things running.
"The big chains have endless amount of money to promote their products," he said. "We don't. So something like this has an impact."
Numerous billboards have been displayed in that same spot, but never one from a direct competitor like KFC. Before the fast food giant's sign was mounted, a sign for the Palmer United Party had been in place for four months.
But the controversial billboard did have a heartwarming side-effect - locals and regulars at Mr Hally's store came out to support the business.
"The biggest thing with us being a stripshop is it's a little community," he said. "I didn't think I was going to get as much support as I did, but it's been absolutely brilliant. I was stoked. Regulars, people who used to live here and still remember us, that came in every day. It's been brilliant."
As a result of the community's support, Mr Hally said sales actually went up over the weekend.
Today, the KFC billboard was finally removed and replaced with a sign for soy candles.
According to a spokesman for the fast food chain, it was taken down after the corporation learned of Chicken Central's concerns.
"The billboard was part of a broader, short term campaign being run in the area by one of our local franchisees who was excited to promote the opening of his new restaurant on Glenferrie Road, and was in no way intended to harm Chicken Central," the fast food chain said in a statement to news.com.au.
"Since learning of Chicken Central's concern, our franchisee has asked for the sign to be removed by the end of the week."
Mr Hally said he'll take them at face value, but that their statement seems "a bit suspect".
"The billboard was designed with an arrow showing the direction of their store. They knew exactly what they were doing. Still, it's a big corporation so maybe they didn't dot the i's and cross the t's to think about how it might impact someone like myself."
Lastly, the store owner gave a big thank you to the Hawthorn community for its support. "The community relies on the stripshops. It's a place where you can come and actually communicate with people.
"If we weren't around I don't know what would happen to this community."