Ridiculous safety and training videos for the workplace have been around for years, but KFC is vying for the weirdest one yet with its new virtual reality game. Yes, hold onto your shortening because there is a KFC VR training program, and for some insane reason, they decided to make it a pseudo-horror game (apparently, fast food isn't horrific enough).
Fast food chains get up to all kinds of shenanigans, what with their secret menu items, their almost-never witty signs, or their "limited time" recurring items that taste like rubber, but nothing can hold a candle to this new Kentucky Fried Chicken weird training game.
Let's take a closer look at the new KFC training program to see if we can figure out what the hell they were thinking.
The Chicken Chain Pairs Legitimate Oculus Rift VR With An Escape Room/ Haunted House ThemePhoto: KFC / YouTube
You'd be justified in assuming an off-brand VR game made by KFC was probably a cheap knock-off type of VR. Shockingly, it's not. It was actually designed by W+K Lodge, the creative technology group of the marketing firm Wieden+Kennedy, meaning that KFC contracted out a huge ad agency - the same one that came up with Nike's iconic "Just Do It" slogan.
It also uses legitimate Oculus Rift technology, so you know it's good, and it probably wasn't cheap. This training program sounds like it's five-times more expensive than it needs to be, and considering that fast food restaurants are notorious for low wages, it might behoove KFC to consider re-investing the VR funds into giving employees a better incentive to do good work: cash.
The KFC VR Experience Is Meant To Supplement the "Chicken Mastery Certification" Training
According to a KFC press release, this VR training takes the already-implemented Chicken Mastery Certification program and makes it more robust, teaching KFC employees how to fry chicken in 10 minutes instead of the traditional 25. Although KFC declares their training program has already featured "hands-on training" and "detailed eLearning," they claim the "fun and interactive" aspects of VR will enhance productivity and profit.
Another benefit may be saving product: training someone to cook without wasting sample products they won't be able to sell. If, for the sake of discussion, each KFC location trains one new employee a week, this VR training means they presumably save 15 minutes of a manger's time per week. Is saving an hour a month really worth allowing a new employee to start without actually cooking? That sounds like an Original Recipe® for food poisoning.
The Training Program Is Called "The Hard Way – A KFC Virtual Training Escape Room"
You read that right: the training program is an escape room-meets-haunted house, which either suggests that KFC is engaging in some extremely self-aware meta-humor, or they're not self-aware at all, as they likely have many employees who wish they could escape. "The Hard Way" is the actual slogan KFC uses to refer to how they prepare their food, doing it the same way Colonel Sanders did 70 years ago. The name of the program, containing both the company name and their slogan, is further proof that this whole thing could be merely a PR move.
The Training Begins With A Frightening Reference To Saw
The first thing trainees hear when they put on the Oculus Rift headset is a very scratchy-voiced Colonel asking, "Do you like games?" It's clearly supposed to be a fun, lighthearted reference to Jigsaw asking the people he's about to murder in creative ways, "Wanna play a game?"
It's a little baffling that KFC would think this is a good idea. Employees are no doubt bewildered before even donning the headset upon hearing that they're going to do some virtual reality training for KFC, but when they step into that VR world and are immediately greeted with a murder joke it must be more than a little unsettling. It feels like an actual old-timey colonel came up with this idea because he wanted to make a "hip" reference to something "the kids" are into.