Saturday, November 10, 2012

KFC in China

KFC knows an incredible success in China. 
KFC surpasses its rival Mac Donald. I would like to analyse this success.

How to explain this success ?

Here are a few tracks :

  • KFC image

As Mac Donald, KFC benefited from an international image conveyed by movies. Arrived years ago in China, KFC received a positive right from the beginning. But as opposed to Mac Donald, KFC product offer match Chinese customers taste.

While Mac Donald launched itself in a price battle, offering launch menu at 15 rmb. KFC follows and does the same but tries to keep a more quality based image.

  • A product offer perfectly adapted to Chinese people taste 

A product offer well thought over:

A veggie sandwich for children

Fried chicken : 
Chinese people love chicken and pork. 
KFC traditionnaly offer chicken. Mac Donald offer beef. This meat is difficult to accept for Chinese. It gives them buttons. Mac Donald reproduced KFC offer while offering chicken burgers.

Fried food:
Chinese people love all fried food. 

KFC adds more spices and pepper in order to match Chinese customer expectations. This varies according the local Chinese people taste.

No cheese:
Many Chinese were lactose intolerant ! KFC didn't have cheese until today.

Pork meat and rice dishes:
KFC offers pork and rice dishes. Chinese customers don't always want to have some hamburger with bread, they would rather have a Chinese rice dish! It is strange that no fast food chain in China focuses on pork meat as pork is by far the favourite meat of Chinese. 

Mexican rolls:
Instead of hamburger bread buns, KFC offers mexican rolls. A few years ago it even offered rice rolls.

Summer offer:
KFC imagined a spring offer with ice cream and different jams. This offer is perfect to attract Chinese in hot summer.
Once I compared ice cream at Mac Donald and ice cream at KFC : nothing similar but the appearance. KFC ice cream is much better quality with a stronger vanila taste.

Chinese Egg tart 
Chinese people love egg tarts. They are available in many places. KFC also offers egg tarts. 
Egg tarts are similar to Nasti di Pasta. I believe they originate from Macao during Portuguese occupation. Egg tarts came to south of China then took over mainland.

Chinese drinks
KFC offers Chinese drinks as you can find them in many other place such as milk tea.
KFC also adapted its drinks to Chinese customers taste. For example, orange made from concentrate syrup.

Chinese corn cob
KFC offers corn cob another a best seller product available everywhere in China.

French fries
Chinese people love this "western food"

A Chicken roll with Sichuan black pepper sauce.

  • KFC partners
KFC has better partners as compared to Mac Donald: Pepsi instead of Coca. 
The majority of Chinese customers prefer Pepsi to Coca.

As I just explained KFC food offer matches Chinese customers tastes. They would rather go to KFC than Mac Donald and anjoy: a rice and pork dish, Egg tart, spicy fried chicken, a milktea, a corn cob, some french fries...

  • Opened 24 hours same as Mac Donald

  • A better communication as compared to Mac Donald: 

From what we have seen KFC was able to develop a great food offer.
I believe that KFC has a strong team of expert working at this: food expert, marketing expert, designers, communication experts...

Apparent low prices.
Billboards are apparent and well designed.
Outside billboard

At the entrance

On tables

A promotionnal pannel at the entrance 

  • Emphasize on cleanliness

Same as in Mac Donald children can wash their hands.
But in KFC customers can clearly see the washbasin and liquid soap while they order food.

Another clever idea from KFC experts: to clean the floor no bucket but a spray bottle!

  • A wide brand communication with well chosen medias: web, bus, radio

KFC advertises on the internet with video hosting website similar to youtube such as youku for instance.
KFC advertises on buses televisions screen: this works perfectly as many children and parents take the bus on their way home.
KFC advertises on billboard near schools and kindergarten.

  • KFC targets children, teenagers and young people

Mac Donald focused on children in its original strategy. This changed. Today Mac Donald targets different customers.

  • KFC bets on home delivery and take away

As fast food market is more competitive, KFC bets on home delivery (Mac Donald tries Mac drive and low price...).
It is a success! 
KFC anticipated that Chinese people will eat more often at home or at the office:
More Chinese don't want to cook. 
More Chinese live alone. 
Many want to eat quickly. 
There are many students in China.
The weather can dissuade to go out: too hot in summer and too cold in winter. 
Chinese people eat very early at 6pm! but they should stay in the office until 8pm. Delivery is the solution.

Targeted advertisement
A billboard on a bus stop just in front of one of Changsha main middle school

KFC is a leader in Chinese fast food market. This is due to its suitable food offer and strong brand image. As a future growth KFC bets on delivery.

Some weaknesses?
KFC must also copy Mac Donald. As Chinese people taste change, KFC launched some cheese burger for its breakfast offer.
Mac Donald new design is a pleasant coffee environement. KFC on the contrary is still very fast food (while its price remain relatively higher than Mac Donald). This could be a weakness in the long as more Chinese want confort.


  1. I was wondering How much time it takes to eat A veggie sandwich I don't care :D if I throw up in due to the clean toilet as shown above,
    Thanks for informations

    Abdul Aziz from Morocco