It is common for corporate parents and franchise owners to get into business disputes. While this was not always the case, it appears that corporations have different priorities and may even be in direct competition. The pricing of required products that are a necessary part of doing business as a franchise, such as a Big Mac or a Slurpee, are also common disputes.
KFC’s corporate policy makes it clear that franchisees cannot make religious dietary claims about the food. Believing that not advertising would hurt his business, the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owner filed a suit in 2016. In what may be a first, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that franchisee the who is a practicing-Muslim cannot advertise his fried chicken as Halal.
However, the owner of eight KFC’s in Illinois claims that the corporation has had no problem with the Halal designation from 2002 to 2016. There are even reports that corporate representatives even helped him find Halal meats. Halal means that meat must be certified under Islamic law. The rules include no pork, no meat from the animals’ hindquarters and a particular technique for slaughter. The franchisee included Halal and non-Halal, pointing out that all Halal food was compliant, with chicken on the bone coming from plants certified by the Islamic Society of the Washington area.
While the judge recently ruled that KFC can hold the owner accountable to a policy drafted in 2009, well after the owner was advertising his food as Halal, this does not mean that the food is not Halal. It should also be noted that other countries do have Halal KFC, including Great Britain.
Dispute makes global news
These types of disputes can be frustrating, and the franchisee did lose, but the relative high-profile nature of the case was such that everyone in Chicago’s Muslim community is now well aware of the situation. The cost of litigation may much less than the money generated by the support the owner receives from the Muslim community.