How YUM! Brands and KFC are moving with the times in Asia’s QSR market

How YUM! Brands and KFC are moving with the times in Asia’s QSR market

For over 70 years, KFC has captured the hearts (and appetites) of loyal customers. A subsidiary of YUM! Brands, it has harnessed a number of growth drivers to ensure it remains a leading restaurant brand of choice for the future.

Opening up to seven new restaurants per day on average, KFC is presently the second-largest fast-food brand worldwide, and the first Western restaurant chain to enter the Chinese market.

Accepting the challenge of undertaking KFC’s aggressive growth strategy in Singapore, Regional Director of Operations Dilip Roussenaly has worked to build a strong brand which listens to the needs of its customers, whilst supporting franchisees under KFC’s Asia division. Roussenaly was previously at KFC France, where he joined from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

“We believe that our brands have a huge potential for growth globally. As part of this, there is a significant opportunity for KFC in Asia,” he says.

By the end of 2018, YUM!’s goal is to become 98% franchised in a bid to increasingly boost efficiencies across its operations. With this in mind, Roussenaly has strived to implement best practices and equip franchisees with essential systems, knowledge and processes to lead the way within the food and beverage industry across Asia.

“We are becoming more focused, more efficient,” says Roussenaly, then detailing Yum!’s four pillars to drive growth.

“Firstly, by continually innovating, building distinctive, relevant and easy brands. Secondly, by developing unmatched franchise operating capability, to deliver excellent customer experience”, he adds.

“Thirdly, driving bold restaurant development, consistently seeking to strengthen our franchisees’ business model. Ultimately, this is what will fuel their appetites for development. There are definitely opportunities to build more KFC stores in Asia,” notes Roussenaly.

“Lastly, growing our unrivalled culture and talent, housing first-rate people who drive great results.”

Increased accessibility

Consumer demands for food that is quick, tasty and convenient has evolved rapidly. Attracting a significant chunk of this market in Asia is something which KFC has maintained despite rampant competition, with an increased awareness that consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, and are continually looking for new products and services which are accessible, high quality and cost-efficient.

However, the emergence of new digital tools has disrupted the way businesses interact with customers.

“We should be able to interact with our customers seamlessly across all channels, particularly digital. Convenience is really winning, even over the product itself, and has impacted the way customers are accessing services and products,” explains Roussenaly.

“Growing demand for home delivery is one of the biggest trends currently shaping the industry.”

Whilst delivery across the food and beverage industry has risen in prominence, KFC aims to retain a leading position in Asia.  

“In Asia specifically, the healthy disposable income growth is fueled by continued low inflation and increases in minimum wage in many countries. We are really committed to growing our business together with our franchisee partners. In fact, in Asia we're aiming at doubling our delivery business over the next few years,” he says.

Enhanced capabilities

“Our three main initiatives to grow Delivery are straight-forward,” explains Roussenaly. “One is expanding our delivery store base, and of course, working closely with aggregators. 

“Aggregators are disrupting the landscape. They provide the convenience of a one-stop shop to customers. From an industry standpoint, the disruption is more profound than what happened with for example, as aggregators handle customers from order taking to actual delivery. This is certainly an opportunity for us. In Asia, we will be offering access to KFC though delivery in more and more areas,” he adds.

Noticeably, YUM! has recently entered a partnership with US online and mobile food ordering company Grubhub, which will guarantee further growth in sales across both YUM!’s KFC and Taco Bell restaurants. Through the deal, the business will also acquire $200mn of common stock at Grubhub, which will further YUM!’s online presence, enhance its ordering and delivery experience for its customers, and also drive profitable growth for its US franchisees.

“Number two is stepping up our own online capabilities, to provide the best ordering experience for customers as well as strong value,” says Roussenaly.

“Thirdly, we are upgrading our operational capabilities to deliver a frictionless experience for customers. For example, we are adopting delivery management systems to become more efficient in fleet management and deliver hot food faster to our customers.”

People focused culture

“Since day 1, I've been amazed by the unique people-focused culture that YUM! has,” Roussenaly continues.

“This culture is spread across all levels at YUM!, from exceptional training and development at store level, all the way to senior management level. Even our CEO is very involved into culture training all across the globe.”

Through its people-first culture and exceptional customer service, Roussenaly firmly believes this will continue to put YUM! on a growth trajectory.

“We have amazingly exceptional people in our ranks, both on the YUM! and franchisee side,” he concludes.

“We share strong core values and have a great culture. We have operators in each country who love the brands and, obviously, our customers love the brand as well. We have an authentic brand which sets us apart, and we have a great tasting product.”