Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) announced yesterday that its KFC chain will begin offering menu items that it hopes customers will find as "finger lickin' good" as the Colonel's original recipe.

As Alyce Lomax recently noted, in Yum!'s first-quarter results, KFC was the one soft spot in a portfolio that includes Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, as well as A&W and Long John Silver's. Specifically, KFC suffered a 7% decline in same-store sales in the most recent reporting period.

With Americans coming to grips with the obesity epidemic, KFC's fried fowl isn't likely to be confused with health food. Yum! evidently feels this is a problem and as a result, KFC has been backing away from its deep-fried image, even taking the somewhat silly step of claiming that KFC now stands for "Kitchen Fresh Chicken." The new menu items, which include "oven roasted" (KORC?) chicken entrees that are lower in fat and carbohydrates than fried options, mark another step in KFC's makeover.

But is the fact that its chicken is fried really the problem with KFC? True, fast-food powerhouse McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) recently unveiled a "balanced lifestyles platform" that promotes healthy choices, and also began selling healthier fare such as fresh apples. But most fast-food chains have been racking up hefty sales lately, even those that have been less aggressive in repositioning themselves as ersatz health-food emporiums.

The new oven-roasted chicken probably won't hurt KFC's sales. Still, with the overall strength in the fast food segment, it's surely debatable that being "fried" is responsible for KFC's funk.

What's your opinion of KFC's new offering? Talk about it with other Fools on our Yum! Brands discussion board.

Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Ill. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.