Yum Restaurants International (Thailand) is overhauling its KFC businesses in Thailand by expanding stores and refreshing its brand.
Marketing director Thanyachete Ekvetchavit said KFC restaurants had operated in Thailand for 30 years and about 300 now were operated and owned by the company, while another 200 were run by its local franchisee Central Restaurants Group.
Thailand is the second-largest market in the world behind China in terms of the number of the company-owned KFC restaurants, with Yum Restaurants looking to increase the number of businesses here to 800 by 2020.
In China, Yum Restaurants owns and operates about 5,000 outlets.
There are also about 5,000 restaurants in the United States and most of them are franchise stores, while there are some 20,000 restaurants in 120 countries.
“We will invest about Bt2.2 billion in the KFC business in Thailand this year, of which Bt700 will be allocated in marketing activities and Bt1.5 billion for new store expansions and renovations of existing restaurants,” Thanyachete said.
“At least 50 new KFC restaurants will be opened this year and more than half of them will be upcountry.
“Between 70 and 80 per cent of KFC’s restaurants will be located in shopping malls and hypermarkets.”
He added that about 30 existing restaurants would be renovated this year.
The company has opened its first KFC drive-through restaurant on Srinakarin Road and another two drive-throughs will be opened this month, one in Pathum Thani and one on Ratchaphruek Road in Bangkok.
About 10 drive-through restaurants are slated to open this year, both in standalone format and at malls.
“We would like to modernise our KFC brand and connect them with digital and other kinds of technology, such as e-commerce,” Thanyachete said.
“We want the KFC brand to be modern and dynamic. Our focus on marketing activities will be shifted from traditional to digital media.”
Thanyachete said this was in line with the company’s strategy to retain its existing customers, including teenagers, and to attract new clients who are young adults in their first job.
With the urbanisation of society, young Thais have enjoyed more options offered by new competitors in the marketplace, such as buffets and Japanese restaurants.
In 2013, KFC restaurants posted 5-per-cent growth in annual sales and 10-per-cent growth in its delivery service.
“About 35 per cent of our clients using our delivery service order online and the rest by telephone,” he said.
“We have seen greater potential in online ordering, which should increase to 50 per cent [of delivery orders] in the future, which is in line with the increasing number of smart phones in the future.”
Yum Restaurants has launched a KFC Thailand 30th-anniversary campaign to repay customers for its success. The highlight of the campaign is the chance to win a seven-day trip to the home town in Kentucky of KFC’s late founder Colonel Harland Sanders.
The trip is worth Bt1.3 million and the campaign runs until April 30.