Businesses in the food and restaurant space have been severely hit during the past few months of the pandemic. Now as the world gradually opens up and as restrictions are being lifted, Moksh Chopra, CMO, KFC India tells us how the brand is adapting with heightened safety practices and contactless delivery options. He also tells us that the brand will remain focused on supporting the efforts of frontline workers and reaching out to more vulnerable sections during these times of adversity.
What has your key learning been from the COVID-19 pandemic for your brand and overall industry?
The first learning is one of agility. The COVID-19 situation did not come with a playbook. Which meant that everyone - governments, industries and brands have had to show great agility in how they operate. We had to quickly adapt and work hard to responsibly open our restaurants in response to the crisis. Our focus was first and foremost, to keep our restaurant teams and customers absolutely safe and healthy. To do this in the right way, we further heightened our already stringent safety practices and introduced the KFC 4X safety standard that met WHO and health ministry guidelines. We temporarily moved to serving a limited menu, which means we can have a smaller kitchen team to maintain social distancing. We rapidly scaled up to a completely contactless delivery (and recently introduced takeaway) approach, and through communications - had consumers quickly adapt to these new ways towards ensuring that we serve food that is safe, affordable, and accessible to those at home.
What is one consumer pattern that you pre-empt right now for your sector and overall industry?
Social distancing and going ‘contactless’ surely seem the norm at present. But as businesses reopen and people start resuming regular life, we anticipate consumers to evolve from this off-premise approach to seeking a safe experience with some sort of a human connection. Consumers will likely seek solace in human interaction for a reassurance of normalcy and security, especially after the prolonged periods of lockdown and lack of socialising. Which then means a transition into contactless dining – and we are already looking at changes in our restaurant design and processes to enable this.
What is one thing that you can avoid doing right now and what is it that you must do right now for your brand?
The whole world is going through an upheaval – and as businesses we need to look into our brand ethos to find ways in which we can contribute meaningfully. The lens has to rightfully shift from conversion to contribution. As a brand that aims to feed the world, we took the Feed A Million pledge - extending our support to provide 1 million meals to communities in need and helping them get through these difficult times. In addition, we committed 10,000 meals to frontline health workers in five cities. We will continue to seek ways to help the community in this difficult phase.
Are you going to increase ad spends on Digital? If yes, by what percentage?
Online content consumption has understandably soared since the lockdown - and this is across a whole new slew of platforms - OTT, of course, but also gaming, education, hobbies and calling apps. More and more people are turning to online and social media for engagement and entertainment. As an organizational policy we are unable to divulge details on ad spends – but there is a definite shift towards Digital for us.
What is your message to the consumer of your brand?
Together we can get through these tough times to emerge stronger and better than before. Stay home, stay safe. Wherever possible, we will come to you. We will also shortly introduce contactless takeaway and dine-in as it becomes safe to do so.