KFC China today released details of its new marketing strategy aimed at strengthening consumer perception after a rocky 2013 instigated by a chicken supply chain issue and an avian flu outbreak.
KFC China is Yum! Brands' biggest sales generator.
As part of its continued recovery, the company has launched a new menu with 15 product introductions. These products, according to a company press release, were developed based on consumer feedback and research, as well as market testing.
The menu includes two chicken sandwiches, three rice dishes, four snacks and six drinks or desserts. Among the 15 products, 10 are new while five are re-launched versions of customer favorites, the company said.
The new menu is available in the nearly 4,600 restaurants in more than 900 cities throughout China. The company said the revamp is unprecedented in KFC's 27-year-history in China.
"We are excited to build off of KFC's upward momentum coming out of last year and announce the next phase of the Brand's Restage in China," said Sam Su, chairman and CEO, Yum! Restaurants China and vice chairman, Yum! Brands. "Going forward, we plan to do a similar menu update at least once a year with innovative and delicious products."
KFC China is also enhancing its marketing communications to convey news to consumers. For the first time, the company leveraged two Chinese celebrities – Chen Kun and Ke Zhendong — in a national campaign to promote Original Recipe and Extra Crispy chicken by asking consumers to vote for their favorite product online. The campaign generated more than 20 million votes, with Original Recipe coming out on top and solidifying its permanent spot on the menu.
Extra Crispy will appear periodically as a limited-time offer.
In addition, the company announced that four celebrities — Ke Zhendong plus Zhang Liang, Wu Mochou and Chen Xiao — will represent the new sandwich, rice, snack and drink/dessert line of products. They will appear in national marketing initiatives to promote the new menu.
According to Su, in addition to marketing and menu initiatives, KFC China's Restage will also feature:
- Redesigned product packaging
- An enhanced service model
- Contemporary staff uniforms
- The gradual rollout of a new store design
- Digital initiatives such as a new mobile app, e-menu and pre-pay takeout option.
"Good restaurant brands know that the way to customers' hearts is through their stomachs, but delicious food alone is not enough. We also need to deliver a comfortable store environment, excellent service, and a distinctive culture for our customers," Su said.
All of these efforts are part of the brand's goal of having a "strong bounce back" year. During a recent call, Yum! CEO David Novak said, "2014 needs to be a show me, don't tell me year" for KFC China. "The goal is to bring new energy and dramatic news to the KFC brand."
The company will provide additional details about these initiatives in the coming weeks.