A little more than a year after fast food giant KFC entered the Cambodian market, a new competitor with a similar acronym and menu has arrived in the form of LFC, or Louisiana Fried Chicken.
The new restaurant opened its doors May 23 on Sothearos Boulevard and hopes to attract Cambodians with a taste for fast food not unlike KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken).
While LFC is less well known than its Kentuckian neighbor, restaurant manager Lina Te said her restaurant is unique in that it has Cambodian origins.
There are 88 LFCs in the US, many of them in California, according to the LFC website. Ms Te’s father, Roger Te, opened his first LFC five years ago and now owns a total of three, all in the San Bernadino area of Los Angeles County, she said.
“He is very excited. It’s a homecoming in some ways,” Ms Te said of her father’s Phnom Penh branch. “This is something he wanted to bring to Cambodia.”
LFC chicken is a little spicier than KFC’s. And unlike KFC, which is a franchise, LFC uses licensing agreements that don’t require royalty payments and allow greater control of the restaurant by the owner, according to the LFC website.
Debasish Pattnaik, a minority shareholder in the KFC restaurants on Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards in Phnom Penh, said that the LFC brand has less pulling power, but could have some positive effects for KFC.
“Louisiana Fried Chicken for me is a new name. I don’t see it as a competition,” he said. “The more international brands that come in the more customers will have an idea of what fast food is,” he said.
Chy Sila, managing director of the BB World burger chain, questioned whether LFC has the branding to compete, noting that the restaurant’s opening wasn’t well publicized.
Still, he said, “If we have more players come to Cambodia, it means the arket is more mature.”
Ms Te said that if her family business could compete in Los Angeles, not only against KFC but other fried chicken restaurants such as Church’s Chicken and Popeye’s, then “we can compete here.”