Steak Through the Heart? 

Chicken restaurant plans mad-cow based marketing blitz

Chicken restaurant plans mad-cow based marketing blitz

“Have you ever heard of mad chicken disease?” With the stroke of that undeniably powerful slogan, Otter’s Chicken Tenders, a recently opened restaurant on Demonbreun Street, is calling all eaters.

Otter’s has been enjoying good word of mouth despite—or maybe because of—its one-note menu of all chicken tenders, all the time. When Otter’s first opened last year, the idea of an all-chicken-tenders place seemed almost like a joke, sort of like an update of the old Saturday Night Live skit about the diner that that served only cheeseburgers.

That was before the advent of American mad cow disease.

Now, sensing that the time may be right to compete with steakhouses head-on, Otter’s owner, Talbott Ottinger, says he’s going about raising his restaurant’s profile.

“We’re going to have billboards that have that new slogan in big letters, and we’re going to buy space near Outback and Logan’s and every other place we can,” he says.

Ottinger said he is working with the Chicken Marketing Council, a national trade group, to license his concept for other similar stores nationwide, including the Atlanta-based Chik-fil-A chain, and maybe even industry giant KFC.

“We’re having a prototype suit made up of a cow in a straitjacket that we’re calling Maddy Cow, and we’re going to have her showing up in public areas near hamburger and steak places,” he says. “If you have to walk past a giant cow in a straitjacket to get into a restaurant, you’ll think twice about what you order,” he says confidently.

“And we’re talking to toy makers about creating a doll-sized version of Maddy that we’ll sell in toy stores. This is going to be big.”

Despite Ottinger’s enthusiasm, steakhouse owners don’t seem worried about either his planned publicity assault or the specter of mad cow disease in general.

“Steak has a unique place in American life,” says one steakhouse manager. “Nobody ever says, 'Let’s go out and have a celebratory piece of chicken.’ ”

(The Fabricator is satire. Don’t believe everything you read.)

“Steak has a unique place in American life,” says one steakhouse manager. “Nobody ever says, 'Let’s go out and have a celebratory piece of chicken.’ ”

(The Fabricator is satire. Don’t believe everything you read.)

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