Pooja Yadav

How KFC aims to market its affordable 'Snacker' range to Gen Zs

With many QSRs having cemented their affordable menu items, the chicken giant has its task cut out.

Quick service restaurant (QSR) chain KFC India, recently launched a ‘Snacker’ range that comes at a price point of below Rs 99, along with a TVC featuring the ‘OG Colonel’. Fast food giants like McDonald’s, Domino’s, Burger King, etc., already have products under Rs 100. However, this is the first time KFC is launching an under-99 range.

So, how does the brand plan to market these products in India?

Aparna Bhawal, chief marketing officer, KFC India & partner countries, says, “Innovation, while being distinctive, is at the core of everything we, at KFC, do. Our distinct taste and quality sets us apart. With the Snacker range, we strive to offer craveable products that are distinctively KFC, at an unbelievable price point.”

With the Snacker range, the brand aims to strengthen its association with snacking, and address a significant consumer segment – Gen Z (18-24 age group).

“As a brand, we’re always tuned into what Gen Z wants and knows. The young value-conscious consumers have multiple snacking occasions in a day, where they want to indulge. At the same time, they want to manage their expenses too. The Snacker range reflects this,” adds Bhawal.

The brand has conceptualised a 360-degree hyperlocal, integrated #BachGaye campaign for the range. The campaign is led by a brand film, and other experiential and creative assets that build on the fact that Indians love a good deal.

Launched in KFC outlets across India, the Snacker range includes signature menu items like Classic Chicken Roll, Chicken Popcorn, Chicken Longer, Veg Longer, Krushers Choco Lava, Fries and Pepsi.

Bhawal mentions, “The campaign is an engaging and humorous take on awkward situations, where all one can think of, is ‘phas gaye’. The iconic Colonel Sanders helps the youngsters to get out of relatable, yet tricky situations, and save their money too. Thanks to him, the awkward situation and paise dono ‘bach gaye’.”

The first film sees a young student, dressed as a king, standing at a KFC counter, with two friends dressed as courtiers. Everything is great until it’s time to pay the bill. After all, as one of the courtiers rightly points out, “Maharaj ke hote, praja kyun paise de?” The king is caught in an awkward situation until Colonel Sanders introduces them to the Snacker range.

Subsequent films showcase similar situations, where Colonel Sanders again comes to the rescue with the Snacker range.

The campaign will run on TV and digital platforms. KFC is focussing on places, platforms and channels that Gen Z engages with the most – whether it is through on-ground activations across colleges, social media, influencers across genres, ads on new-age apps, amongst other things.

Bhawal shares that the campaign has received a positive response. It has been creating quite a buzz on social media channels, with many influencers, meme pages, and new-age portals tuning in to share their own ‘phas gaye’ and ‘bach gaye’ situations.

QSRs popularity

As per the Trade Promotion Council of India, the QSR sector in the country has rapidly evolved. QSRs are gaining popularity and the domestic market is expected to reach $32.22 billion by 2028.

Keeping the growth potential in mind, KFC has been constantly innovating with diverse offerings. It is working to make its restaurants across the country, smart, sustainable and aesthetic to provide an unmatched experience for customers.

KFC, which is owned by Yum! Brands Inc., recently released its first quarter earnings. As per the report, KFC India clocked sales growth of 25% in the first quarter, ended March 31, 2023. The contribution of India to the overall global KFC sales, is pegged at about 2%.

“We have seen robust double-digit growth in India recently. 2022 was a power-packed year, with focus on building new units and launching disruptive products, strengthening our commitment to our people and the planet, and expanding our physical and digital footprint,” shares Bhawal.

“We have devised India-specific offerings and different formats of the items we serve, be it the Biryani Bucket, Popcorn Bowl made with Maggi, or even the Tandoori Zinger, amongst others. The competition is healthy. It drives us to work harder to attract new customers and retain the existing ones.”

Digital approach

As per the brand, off-premise channels such as delivery and takeaway, witnessed a surge during the COVID pandemic. The brand witnessed an increase in on-premise consumption, with dine-in, post the pandemic. Delivery and takeaway continue to be popular channels.

“The past few years have seen a rapid shift in how the consumers are interacting with brands. People are now actively seeking innovative experiences. There is an increasing shift from being digital, to digital-first,” states Bhawal.

To cater to the constantly evolving digital-first customer, the brand integrated technology inside a select few outlets by stationing self-ordering kiosks in there. It has also revamped its app that now has multiple payment options available and is accessible across geographies.

Last year, the brand launched all-digital ‘Smart Restaurants’ in cities such as Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Chennai, Bengaluru, amongst others.

“These restaurants have been well received by the consumers. Our aim is to continue to build more such restaurants across the country in future,” says Bhawal.

Talking about digital strategies, Bhawal shares, “Algorithms play a significant role in brand visibility and reach. Navigating the algorithm, requires a dynamic and flexible approach. Some of the things that brands should keep in mind, while chalking out online strategies, include content optimisation, influencer partnerships, targeted partnerships, community engagement and data-driven insights.”

Moving ahead, the brand plans to have a mix of equity and franchise-owned restaurants, with an increased focus on enhancing the digital experience.

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