With a name like Mother Clucker, it’s not surprising that a U.K. fried chicken company has been gaining a lot of press attention.
But is it the quality of the company’s fried chicken, or its eyebrow-raising name, that has seen customers flocking to feed on what is rarely a huge crowd puller?
"Tastes so good, I wanna cry,” was how one emotional reviewer reacted to the company’s “tea-brined, buttermilk-soaked, twice-battered fried chicken” -- so it could be the food.
Standing out from the flock
With more than 8,000 fried chicken outlets in the U.K. capital, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. But -- selling from its converted U.S. army ambulance, the Cluck Truck, which usually roosts in the Truman Brewery in London’s trendy Brick Lane -- that is exactly what this company has succeeded in doing.
Since its establishment in 2013, even luxury magazine Conde Nast Traveler has been to taste the fried food on offer, which includes “Cluckwiches as big as human heads,” or a meal deal of chicken strips, fries and a drink for GBP9 (US$13.80).
In the U.K., chicken outlets, on the whole, tend to be low priced, but Mother Clucker certainly does not seem to have had any problems charging a premium price. According to Trip Advisor, you can expect to queue for 30-40 minutes during the lunch time rush, a pretty good indication of the outlet’s popularity.
Growing trend or flight of fancy?
High-end fried chicken appears to be on the up across the country. London is also home to free range Bird and Manchester’s Yard & Coop. Visit its website if you want to “check out the hot birds” on its menu.
Time will tell whether this phenomenon will last. Using premium ingredients and cooking to perfection can all too quickly fall by the wayside as demand outstrips small companies’ ability to supply, and it’s a limited crowd that can afford to go premium when standard product is so easily available.
I’ve not tried this gourmet chicken, but I have been to gourmet burger outlets - before the recent World Health Organization announcements on red meat and cancer - and found the offering truly dismal. Give me your usual quick service restaurant food any time.
At the end of the day, it’s the product that keeps customers coming back, rather than a clever name, risqué language or unusual marketing.
And if the name Mother Clucker took you by surprise (it did me), then you don’t know the global fried chicken market. There are businesses across the U.S. with similar names, albeit usually seasoned slightly with the word restaurant or similar.