An interview with KFC: Digital transformation is coming
KFC is a global brand, known by many for the brick and mortar store with the red sign and the delicious smell. However, as the world shifts and consumers become time-saving, online-buying and mobile orientated shoppers - KFC are shifting their strategy from ‘the company that makes finger-lickin’ chicken’ to become ‘the leading quick-service restaurant across Western Europe in digital experience, with finger lickin; chicken’. And what could be better than that?
Jennie Wright, Head of Digital Transformation for KFC, is interviewed by Judopay and explains the challenges KFC have overcome to achieve it, how choosing the right payment provider has made this possible and the plans for the coming years.
What challenges have you seen in creating a strategy shift from a chicken company that has technology, to a technology company that makes chicken?
The first challenge in any major change is around strengthening your internal knowledgebase. KFC didn’t have the right people at the beginning, and so they built an in-house team with the autonomy to act and engage with the right partners to drive through change.
The second challenge (as with any major corporation) was legacy IT. Inspiration to overcome this challenge came from the customer. Customers articulate what they want, and their behaviours drive the trends. Ultimately, the technology comes last as an answer a business problem or a customer problem. KFC have ‘The Coop’ for customer feedback – a customer panel where they test a hypothesis with a prototype. This allows KFC to fail fast and let the customer tell them what’s working and what’s not. KFC believe you should never dictate to the customer, the customer should be at the heart of all decisions.
What are your top tips for any business looking to do the same?
Vision is imperative. Our new vision is a shift in mindset from times gone by, and it’s important to drive that shift in mindset throughout the organisation.
Be realistic in your aspirations. There is no silver bullet- good enough is good enough. Waiting to produce the perfect solution prolongs the meeting of the customer needs.
How does the in-house ability to deliver to your customers work with aggregators like Just Eat and Deliveroo?
We’re becoming an e-commerce company challenging ourselves and challenging our competitors. There’s room for our own scheme as well as aggregators.
Customer loyalty is the differentiator (KFC have a loyalty scheme called ‘The Kernel’s Club’). KFC’s solution will be the quickest way for their customers to order food – from a one-click order for your favourites to a geo-sense so you can order and skip the queue if you’re near a store. KFC aren’t removing an aggregator option. Instead, they are providing a more bespoke solution and an unbelievable experience for customers.
What's next for KFC's digital transformation?
Online ordering is in place. Online delivery, in-App delivery and click and collect are the current focus. The next step is around building out the customer profile. In future your profile will be known and your choices will be customisable. For example, KFC chicken buckets currently have limited options, whereas in future you will be able to build your own bucket. KFC will trial voice ordering (changing the drive-through experience), table service in restaurants, at drone delivery and at blockchain for supply chain.
You've mentioned drone delivery and blockchain, what technologies do you see as the next game changers?
Voice is likely to be the next game changer from a customer point of view and it’s my opinion that businesses aren’t harnessing it enough. AI is necessary to drive the right customer experience. Virtual Reality feels a little further away in terms of delivery, and personally Augmented Reality feels a little less useful.
How did a payment provider make this digital transformation possible for you?
Judopay are our payment provider and we are aligned in our ‘customer first’ approach and our need to develop ground breaking technology to meet the customer’s needs. Payments is a critical part of the customer experience, not just a service. Judopay wow and delight their customers with, for example, quick and easy integration, being transparent about how long integrations take and working in a way that is flexible for KFC.
Finally, the technology is there, but how do you implement the digital approach within your stores?
We are aiming for an omni-channel experience. Start your journey in-App and finish your journey in-store. This means we need to think about express lanes for click and collect and understand the footfall throughout restaurants – express lanes weren’t there before and now interrupt the customer journey. We are working hard to make the best experience for our team members and the best experience for our customers.