It's Double-Digit Good!
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Fried chicken across the globe is synonymous with Kentucky Fried Chicken aka KFC. Growing pillar-to-pillar from its first franchise outlet in Utah in 1952 to now having presence in over 135 countries, KFC, serving its signature chicken, has been disrupting the fast food industry. The brand entered the Indian F&B industry in 1995 with its first outlet in Bengaluru, and since then has opened over 400 restaurants across 100 cities. Although franchising since 2002, the brand re-organized the business under larger, well-capitalized franchisees in 2015. Now operating through a mix of franchised and equity restaurants, it has been mainly working with two of its largest franchise partners – Sapphire Foods India and Devyani International.
How has been KFC’s India story so far?
We are growing strong in the country with the last quarter marking the eleventh consecutive quarter of double-digit same store sales growth. We are now present in over 100 cities with a network of 400 restaurants across India. There have been a number of milestones along the way – our first all-women restaurant, the first restaurant managed by specially-abled team members, and our foray into the 110th city. We are looking at achieving many more such milestones in India.
What are your best practices to ensure consistent quality and service across all stores?
We believe in a culture of transparency and our chicken goes through a process of 34 quality checks before it reaches the consumer. In addition, we are open to feedback and suggestions about the food served in our restaurants. Our Open Kitchens’ program has been running successfully for many years now. Customers are welcome to walk into any of our restaurants across India and ask for a kitchen tour to see for themselves the stringent quality and hygiene standards that we follow, along with our strict internal quality monitoring systems.
How do you create excitement among the consumers around KFC?
We engage with our consumers through innovative and exciting campaigns. From introducing India’s very own Colonel Sanders through ‘KFC Land’ to recently unveiling India’s first food celebrity at Madame Tussauds India, the idea is to be distinctive and yet be relevant to our consumers. We want our consumers to not only relish the product, but also engage with the brand. We draw insights from our continued engagement with them to come up with newer innovations. KFC’s latest merchandise is also a cool extension to bond more with chicken lovers and KFC fans.
KFC India owns less than 20 per cent of the total stores in India. Moving forward, what is your franchise strategy?
We will continue to have a play in the market through a mix of both equity-owned and franchise-owned stores. We are currently 400 restaurants strong (as on June 2019) and are confident of growing our presence further. We’re taking a long-term view on how we establish the brand in the country in a meaningful way. The aim is to continue working closely with franchisee partners to unlock growth.
(This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)