It’s one of the only KFCs in Canada that offers an all-you-can-eat buffet, but the Weyburn fast food tradition could be coming to an end because the corporate owners want to shut it down.
Fans of the chicken buffet are in an uproar after word got out that Yum Canada, the owners of KFC, want the Weyburn location to stop the buffet.
The buffet itself has gained recent popularity thanks to Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole. The former TSN sportscasters are now in Los Angeles where they work for Fox Sports One.
Onrait, who has mentioned the buffet numerous times on his podcast with O’Toole, explained that the idea itself is what makes it great.
“There’s just something unique, and fun about it, and I just love that it kind of has become pseudo-famous, the one in Weyburn,” Onrait said when Discover Weyburn caught up with him by phone.
Weyburn golfer Graham DeLaet is often a guest on the podcast and the buffet does come up frequently in their conversations.
Onrait even suggested the buffet may have something to do with the calibre of athlete that comes from Weyburn. In recent years, the city has boasted Derrick Pouliot of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brendon Labatte of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Brett Jones of the New York Giants, and DeLaet, just to name a few.
It’s also a running joke for Weyburn Mayor Debra Button.
“Such a number of great athletes have come out of there, is it your water?” Button said she is frequently asked. “I always jokingly say, no, it’s our KFC buffet.”
The restaurant is also a special place for Button. It was where she had her first real job.
She wasn’t the only politician from Weyburn who got their start there, either. Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan also worked at the franchise as a teenager.
Duncan said that the rumour of the buffet being closed down isn’t a new one, but this time, it may be closer to reality than previous comments out of the national offices in Toronto.
“I am strongly opposed to any move to change this,” he explained. “I think this is one thing that really sets apart our KFC in Weyburn from most others, almost every other, in Canada.”
When word reached social media, it lit up Twitter like a firestorm.
Everyone from Premier Brad Wall, to FakeGainer, to WCS Football Coach Darren Abel was tweeting about it. Many asked what they could do to help support the restaurant. Onrait was one of those.
— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) May 24, 2016
“Maybe we’ll have to pack up the whole podcast crew, and try to get up to Weyburn, and do some sort of benefit podcast to keep the place open,” he laughed.
Duncan said he may even take the opportunity to make a member’s statement in the Legislature. The statement is a part of the regular day at the Legislative Assembly, where members can speak their minds on almost anything. He did note there would be a touch of irony, though, as he is also the health minister for the province.
To help get the attention of the bigwigs from Toronto, many are calling for the restaurant to be packed over the lunch hour on Wednesday. The sit-in would happen to coincide with a visit from Yum Canada.
The area manager for the Weyburn KFC reported being overwhelmed by the support online to “Save the KFC Buffet”. Larie Semen has been with the company since 1978 and said he has been trying to convince the corporate office to keep the buffet for the past four years.
A statement provided by KFC Canada on Tuesday afternoon said they just learned about the situation in Weyburn this week. They won’t make any guarantees but said it the buffet will remain open for now.