KFC is shifting its design strategy to more upscale. Here is the experience from one franchisee:
The restaurateur has spent more than $3 million renovating all the restaurants, but only a location in Claremore and now the southeast Tulsa store boast the new image.
“The idea was to bring KFC up to casual dining,” Schoenhofer said. “We’ve gotten away from the fast-food look.”
KFC and its parent company, Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc., are in step with an evolution inside the quick-casual food industry — new images for many longtime chains, including fast-food giant McDonald’s.
“It’s a trend and, obviously, it’s working,” Schoenhofer said.
At KFC, hard plastic seating, bright primary colors,and old menu boards and lighting have been replaced with high, open ceilings, glazed tile floors, padded booth seating, upscale tables and chairs, and improved restrooms and lighting — all in a Tuscan color scheme of gold, rust, blue and brick red.
The restaurant also features a colorful, revamped menu board above the service counter.
With inflation, “We’re asking people to spend more money on food, and we want to give them the environment they want,” Schoenhofer said. “We want it to be a nice experience for them.” KFC is also making its menu healthier.
…And after the renovations, business soared, he added. “Since we took the stores over, our sales went up 150 percent.”
Most of the fast-food chicken brands such as Popeye’s, Church’s, Boston Market, El Pollo Loco, Pollo Tropical, Bojangle’s Chicken, Chick-Fil-A, and Chicken Kitchen, have relatively common cheap chair/booth style look. Improving the quality of the food and restaurant design is a smart, and very likely to be successful strategy. One strategy to capitalize on this new initiative is to buy an existing KFC franchise from an owner who does not have the cash to upgrade to the new design. I’d buy it!