KFC is poised to open a new restaurant concept called “KFC eleven” next month near its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, testing a more upscale concept.  The new, stand-alone restaurant, opening August 5, will serve flatbread sandwiches, rice bowls, salads, and only boneless pieces of its Original Recipe chicken.  The name of the test restaurant is a reference to the 11 herbs and spices founder Col. Harland Sanders used in the Original Recipe.

KFC hopes to use the new test location to learn how it can update its offerings and draw in a broader customer base, particularly woman, said John Cywinski, president of KFC.  Only boneless chicken, which KFC rolled out in April as an easier-to-eat alternative, will be served.  KFC previously said that the rollout of boneless chicken was meant to appeal to people in their 20s and 30s who grew up on chicken nuggets and tenders, but Cywinski also said logistics was a factor in the decision to serve only boneless chicken in the new concept.  Cooking boneless and on-the-bone chicken in a new restaurant concept would be too complicated, given all the other menu items, he said.

The restaurant’s exterior will not feature the familiar Sanders.  The new concept reflects the competition traditional fast-food chains are experiencing with chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, which have become increasingly popular with customers who they serve higher quality food for only slightly higher prices.  “Fast-casual” chains are the fastest-growing segment in the restaurant industry, according to Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski.   Other chains, such as Applebee’s and Red Lobster, have recently started testing similar formats as well, Kalinowski said.