Yum! Brands is revamping its image and menu at its KFC stores in China. On March 25, the chain launched a new menu and marketing campaign there and announced plans to rethink its store design. The Louisville, Ky., chain also plans to freshen up its branding in China with new packaging, employee uniforms and new mobile applications, including an electronic menu and prepay takeout options. No further details were made available.
China is a critical market for the company. Yum! operates more than 6,200 KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, East Dawning and Little Sheep restaurants in China and plans to open 700 more this year. KFC was one of the first Western quick-service chains to expand across China, but its competition, from homegrown and other international chains, is heating up. The chainís sales and public image suffered in 2013 after a probe by Shanghai food-safety regulators in late 2012 found excessive levels of antibiotics in chicken from two KFC suppliers. Revenues dipped with China sales at established restaurants falling 4% during the fourth quarter last year.
The addition of so many new products, including chicken sandwiches and rice dishes, to the menu is unprecedented in KFC's 27-year history in China, according to Sam Su, Yum!ís top executive in China. In a statement, he added that the company plans to update KFC's menu at least once a year in the future.