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KFC Apologizes After Mobile App Alert For Tone-Deaf Kristallnacht Promotion In Germany

KFC sent out the alert on the memorial of Kristallnacht, which some consider the start of the Holocaust in 1939.

Kentucky Fried Chicken—KFC storefront
Xavi Lopez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

This week, KFC issued a public apology for telling German customers to "treat themselves" on Kristallnacht in a mobile app alert.

It was reported the Yum Brands chain sent out the insensitive notification on Wednesday.

"It's Kristallnacht Memorial Day! Give yourself a treat by adding more soft cheese to your crispy chicken. At KFCheese now!


In November 1938, Nazis carried out pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria known as "Kristallnacht" or "the night of broken glass." Some people regard it as marking the start of the Holocaust.

The alert, according to KFC, contained "an obviously unintended, insensitive and unacceptable message."

The message was sent via the company's half-AI (artificial intelligence) messaging system that ties into national observances.

Reactions were pretty quick to roll in—from shocked to angered.

A whole vein of commentary was along the lines of "this is what AI gets you."

Others commented on the Antisemitism of the act, which almost goes without saying in such an obvious mistake, but should be pointed out. To add insult to injury, the app's suggestion of a chicken and cheese meal dies not adhere to Kosher dietary laws, or is known as "tref."

Finally, there were those who came up with other, similar blunders that could happen if the AI chose a different day of national importance for a notification.

Not the best look for KFC, or for the usefulness of AI marketing bots.