This Fake KFC Was Too Much Like to the Real Thing to Stay Open in Iran

By Mike Pomranz |

© Fatemeh Bahrami / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

For one fleeting day, things in Iran were Finger Lickin’ good. But, unfortunately for lovers of fast food fried chicken, that could not last. A recently shuttered restaurant was deemed too much like an American KFC—a problem that made it anathema to leaders.

It’s easy to see how people thought this restaurant, called KFC Halal, was associated with the American version of the fast food chain: The name is almost identical, the colors are the same, the menu contains similar items, and, oh yeah, Colonel Sanders’ giant face is plastered all over the place! Actually, a more accurate statement would be, it’s hard to see how people wouldn’t the Tehran spot was a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

But after being forced to close their doors, the restaurant claimed they did nothing wrong. “The shutting down of Halal KFC was due to a misunderstanding,” Abbas Pazuki, the restaurant’s manager, told the Tasnim News Agency, according to the BBC. “We are part of a brand known as Halal KFC, which comes from Turkey. It belongs to Muslims and its target market is Muslim nations.” Ah, so they weren’t ripping off KFC; someone else was. Definite misunderstanding.

Even reporters were confused. According to Mashable, the Iranian news agency Tasnim called the fake KFC the first American fast food restaurant of its kind in Iran – which helps explain why the Iranian government shut it down. “In accordance with orders from the Supreme Leader, we do not give any authorization to Western brands in the fast food sector,” Ali Fazeli, head of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, said confirming that the KFC was indeed not the American version. However, its similarities were still deemed too close to operate in the Islamic republic. According to Tasnim, the American-inspired décor “can be seen as a part of American influence into Iranian culture.”

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