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Cornelius News

W. Catawba KFC kicks the bucket

March 5. If you’re an investigative reporter who knows what’s happening to the KFC on West Catawba, you can win a pullet, sir or madam. Franchise owner MTLD has not returned at least a half-dozen phone calls, nor has Yum brands, the owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain based in Louisville, Ky., responded to our request to stay abreast of local franchise news.

We’re kidding about the pullet (surprise!), but no one seems to know what happened, except that our favorite KFC was serving up the calories a week ago yesterday, and closed its doors a week ago today after 31 years of business in Cornelius.

We spoke to a co-manager at the store who said he wasn’t authorized to discuss the status of the restaurant on the record, but he did ask if we would like to buy it.

The owner of the franchise is MTLD Inc. of Kannapolis. It’s associated with Day Enterprises, one of the oldest KFC franchisees. Entrepreneur Troy Day, who actually knew Col. Sanders back in the day, is in his 90s now. There’s an answering system at MTLD, but no one among six people we tried, including Mr. Day, ever called us back.

The fast-food business requires an iron stomach. Competition among the big fast food chains has intensified in recent years with almost all of them competing for customers with dollar menus and discounts.  Of course, Bojangle’s is right next door, but the Pizza Hut on the other side of KFC is gone, having relocated to much smaller space in Lakeshore Marketplace.

That’s a trend, too. Restaurants—the last thing you’d expect to go virtual—are shrinking in size as take-out dining becomes more popular for busy families.

Indeed, Yum has paired up with Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB), the nation’s leading online and mobile takeout food-ordering company.

YUM will purchase $200 million of Grubhub’s common stock. Yum hopes to drive incremental sales to KFC and Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S. through online ordering for pickup and delivery.

According to county tax records, KFC’s 3,700 square foot building, historic by Cornelius standards having been built in 1988, is valued at $1.8 million.

Planning Director Wayne Herron, who is usually the first to know when a new project is coming, said no one has contacted his department about redeveloping the site.



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