Pooja Yadav

KFC plans to double its special restaurants by 2024

Currently, the brand has 33 special restaurants across 19 Indian cities.

KFC, the leading fast food chain, is focusing on employing and supporting specially-abled individuals across its restaurants in India. The QSR brand has been a pioneer in enabling those with speech and hearing impairment since 2008, by extending employment and growth opportunities to them. Currently, it has more than 150 such members and 33 special restaurants (operated by specially-abled members) across 19 cities.

Recently, the brand came up with a film, titled 'Kshamata', directed by Shoojit Sircar. The film marks the brand's effort to spread awareness about sign language as a medium of communication. 'Kshamata' is inspired by the lives and realities faced by specially-abled KFC members.

To mark the occasion of International Day of Sign Languages on September 23, the brand rolled out #SpeakSign campaign to drive 2x empowerment by 2024. The brand has strengthened its 'Kshamata' programme, with the launch of this campaign.

Moksh Chopra, general manager, KFC India, spoke with afaqs! on how the brand breaks societal shackles through its latest film, expansion plans, marketing strategies, and more.

Edited excerpts:

What is your brand's target audience? How has that TG changed over the last two years?

People of all age groups like KFC products. This behaviour spiked during the COVID pandemic, as people started spending more time indoors. Our multi-media strategy is transitioning - from only focusing on young friends, as a demographic, to celebrating youthful, quirky relationships, like the grandma-grandson duo bonding over a bucket of KFC, while watching a cricket match.

Our strategy is to deepen KFC’s relevance, while retaining the distinctiveness it's known for. Our communication leverages local insights and nuances towards building relevance for an occasion. Innovations like the leg piece bucket, rice bowlz, zinger tandoori and the KFC to your car/bike service, help us to deepen our connect with the consumers.

KFC recently launched a biryani bucket. Is there any ongoing biryani trend that you are keeping up with?

We launched the biryani bucket on popular consumer demand. Consumers often asked us, ‘Biryani kab khilaoge’. Perhaps, this stemmed from a desire to see our take on India’s most loved cuisine - biryani - being paired with their favourite KFC chicken. Keeping our ears to the ground and being attentive to our consumers’ preferences, we will continue to expand our menu through interesting formats and flavours.

KFC plans to double its special restaurants by 2024

Can you talk about your expansion plans?

We now have a presence across more than 190 cities in the country, with our restaurants, as well as the website and app. Our focus will be to push for growth and widen our reach, by expanding into new cities, while deepening our presence in metros and creating easy access for our consumers by constantly upgrading our digital assets. We will continue with a mix of both equity and franchise-owned restaurants, with an increased focus on our app and website, to fuel our long-term plan of growth and expansion in the country.

What are the highlights of the #SpeakSign campaign?

With our 'Kshamata' programme, we have strengthened our commitment of 2x empowerment by 2024. We will double the number of special restaurants. We continually strive to drive this programme beyond our restaurants and creating awareness and acceptance for sign language, as a mode of communication, is one such initiative.

This year, we marked the occasion of International Day of Sign Languages, with our #SpeakSign campaign, encouraging audiences to make an effort to learn the sign language.

The highlight of the campaign is he film ‘Kshamata’, the story of 'Ishmeet', inspired by the lives of our specially-abled team members and directed by Sircar. This film drives the message through its protagonist ‘Ishmeet’, who has speech and hearing impairment. She, one day, manages to break the societal shackles of what she can and can't do.

What is the media mix of #SpeakSign?

'Kshamata’ and the #SpeakSign campaign are supported by a robust media strategy, including digital and social media, CRM, PR and influencer outreach. This campaign is targeted at audiences across demographics and regions, and nudges them to make an effort to learn the sign language.

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