Business Wars

Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. Business Wars gives you the unauthorized, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights -- or to ruin. Hosted by David Brown, former anchor of Marketplace. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John and American History Tellers.


episode 5: KFC vs Chick-fil-A | The Colonel’s Last Stand

It’s the 1970’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken has yet another new owner: Heublein, the company known for introducing Americans to Smirnoff’s vodka. But KFC brand ambassador Harland Sanders creates a PR fiasco by accusing his new corporate bosses of letting standards slide and ruining the company. As the recession and Sanders wrath hammer revenues, the chain radically changes course, and commits to a “Re-colonelization,” reinstating  many of Sanders’ original recipes, and reinvesting in its disenchanted franchisees. Kentucky Fried Chicken surges just as Chick-fil-A makes a series of fatal errors; they lose millions in a marketing misstep, and take on debt to expand rapidly in shopping centers. As the recession deepens, and consumers as well as developers shun malls, Chick-fil-A faces financial ruin. Meanwhile, Popeyes has his own debt-fueled misadventures. Owner Al Copeland leans hard into the 1980s junk bond market and attempts to catch up with KFC by leveraging a hostile takeover of Church’s Fried Chicken, with fatal results.

Pre-order our new book The Art of Business Wars now before it is released on April 13.

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