KFC Cooks Up a College Degree in Fried and Fast Food

The restaurant chain takes a dip into higher education.
Do you want a degree from KFC? (Photo: Getty Images)
Jul 24, 2012
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is moving up in the world. The fast-food chain famous for bargain buckets and secret sauces will now offer its managers a college degree.

The chain has teamed up with De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K., and is spending £800,000 (approximately $1.2 million) to educate 20 restaurant managers a year. The tailored bachelor of arts honours degree is in business management.

The U.K. managing director of KFC, Martin Shuker, is proud of the program. He told The Telegraph that “for those who have decided for whatever reason not to go to university, the degrees are just a fabulous thing that we are doing that allows them to grow, develop and fulfill some of their career ambitions. It’s a very affordable way of allowing them to get those skills, development and training.”

More: Fast Food Gone Wrong: 5 Gut-Busting Innovations

Shuker added that the average manager oversees a business that brings in 1.25 million pounds (approx. 1.8 million dollars). Typically each branch employs 40 staff members.

This isn't the first time a chain restaurant has offered a tailored college degree. In 2010, McDonald's introduced a degree course in business management for restaurant managers. The foundation degree was accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K. Walmart is also taking a stab at offering college courses through their LifeLong Learning Program. Launched in 2010, in partnership with for-profit school American Public University, Walmart and Sam’s Club employees are eligible for college credit for their formal training and job experience.

The program, according to Walmart's website, is meant to "put associates on a faster track to earning a college degree, reduce their length of time in school and make the overall cost more affordable."

Affordability is key for all three of these programs. In regards to the KFC degree, The Telegraph reports:

While regular students in England and Wales are paying up to £9,000 a year to attend university, the KFC degree will cost £9,000 for the whole three years. KFC is offering to foot half of that bill and staff will have to find the remaining £4,500 – a task Mr Shuker insists will be easier given that they will be combining their study with full-time jobs.

How do you feel about KFC's college degree? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee | TakePart.com

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