KFC's test store to be used as a model for expansion

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 4 February 2015

Yesterday KFC opened the doors of its new concept store for the 'urban professional', with the chain looking to roll out more of these stores in city areas based on the success of the latest trial.

Nikki Lawson, chief marketing and development officer for KFC Australia, told AdNews that by creating this new style of store the brand is aiming to branch into an area that it feels it is being under represented in.

“We have been looking for a store that can compliment our portfolio, at the moment we have a really successful free standing drive through store predominately located in suburban areas, and one of the challenges for us is how do we get a viable business model in a more urban and centric location and this is our test to see how we do it.”

When asked if based on the success of the model, would the chain be opening more of these concept stores in locations such as the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs Lawson said: “We'd love to, we think we're under represented in a lot of urban locations, the idea is that this model tests what we may do in other locations.”

The new store looks dramatically different to other KFC chains, however Lawson explained that the store and its interior wasn't designed to be a dramatic departure from the KFC brand.

“It's not meant to be a big departure from the branding,” Lawson told AdNews. “If you look at some of our more recently remodelled stores there's a far more sophisticated, far more contemporised style coming through. I just don't talk for KFC on that, if you look at other fast food chains you would see that the interior and the experience in the stores are receiving a lot of attention across the board.”

As a marketing team moving forward Lawson explained that customer experience and social media remain a focus.

“Marketing used to be quite simple, we could put an ad on TV and just broadcast to consumers.”

“The big departure is that it's now a two-way conversation, social media is far more important to us, as well as this the whole customer experience needs to be looked at. These are avenues that we're attacking as a marketing team all together.”

On the original story yesterday while some were for the new stores change in direction some were vehemently against. With one commenter, Natasha Seymour saying that: “This is highly questionable from a branding point of view.”

“But besides that they are forgetting who their target demo is and why. People who are not concerned about the nutritional value of their meal and who want something fast and cheap go to KFC. Not corporate professionals who are up-to-date with fitness trends and conscious of their health. Depending on location these professionals are also probably image conscious and wouldn't be seen dead in a 'KFC Cafe'.”

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