In an exclusive conversation with Nusra, Rahul Shinde, MD, KFC India, talks about their innovations and growth plans for 2017
After consecutive sales drop, KFC regained its sales. What strategy did you apply to get back?
In 2015, we focused our energies to reorganize our business, associated with like-minded, right partners and decoded our core consumer. The year 2016 had been a transformational year for KFC as we witnessed a positive sales momentum that we demonstrated with two consecutive system sales growths of 13 per cent (for the quarter ended September 2016) and 16 per cent (for the quarter ended December 2016). In the wake of external factors like demonetization that affected the industry in the past few months, this is a reiteration of the confidence that the consumers have shown in our brand.
It is believed that because of the customers’ eating out behaviour there is a dip in the sales of many QSR chain. Are there any new initiative and retail strategy for marketing the brand in India?
According to a recent report, India’s QSR segment is expected to grow by 26 per cent each year to reach Rs 117 billion by 2017-end. We have just posted two consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth. For the size of opportunity we have in India, we want to have two growth engines — one equity-led and the other partner-led. Consolidation with two deep-pocketed partners, backing from the well-capitalised private equity funds, who can invest in the brand, assets and talent, have brought back the confidence in the category and brand. The other big change is we’ve brought chicken back to the forefront — what we have been famous for across the world.
What is the idea of launching ‘Hangout Stores’? How is different from your normal stores?
These new format stores are intimate and informal, making a perfect hangout zone for every mood and occasion. KFC Hangouts have a rustic feel, with an interesting mix of wooden and metal furniture, brick walls and earthy lamps, and offer an environment that subconsciously makes consumers let go of any inhibitions thus allowing them to kick back, relax and enjoy meal. While the overall design philosophy remains consistent across we do have the liberty to add local elements to build relevance in our markets – making each restaurant unique.
How much are you focusing on localisation?
Today’s consumers are well travelled and cued into global food trends. They are increasingly demanding authentic and real food experiences, and we are catering to those who want to try our international flavours. We will continue to build on innovations that are original, craveable and authentic.
What is your expansion plan?
We’re taking a long-term view on how we can establish the brand in India in a meaningful way.