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National Story
“Though we cater to all, our focus is only youth”
Dhruv Kaul, Marketing Director, KFC India
Issue Date - 01/03/2012
Dhruv Kaul, Marketing Director, KFC India talks about what lies at the core of KFC’s recent exploits in the India QSR industry, and what all it’s doing to stay ahead of competition like McDonald’s:

B&E: You have recently launched a slew of new products like the grilled chicken, and the affordable Streetwise range. What your product offering strategy?
Dhruv Kaul (DK): The core idea of KFC is that everything revolves around the ‘Taste’ and ‘variety’. We started with chicken, and then built on that. Now we have vegetarian, we have beverages, and different kind of burgers, wraps, and desserts too. A lot of our products are introduced after in-depth research, like we launched our grilled-chicken offering, based on the fact that Indian palette likes a lot of spice and heat. We first tested this product for a long time, tweaking it, fixing it, seeing consumer reaction to it, and finally bringing it to market. With our product line, we want to give people different reasons to come to KFC, you want to have just a burger you can come, and you want to have a beverage or a breakfast, you can come as well.

B&E: KFC offers a lot of indulgence food. Is that your USP, or with your new offerings you are slowly trying to move towards healthier offerings?
DK: With our grilled chicken, you can say that. But on an overall perspective we want to offer a wide range of choice to people, we have everything, they can choose, and mix and match. We let people choose as per their mood. Fried food too is very much part of how a lot of food is consumed in India. So we will continue to have products on both the platforms, a little healthier grilled/oven as well as the fried offerings.

B&E: Which are KFC’s most popular products in the market?
DK: The most popular product people come to have is the Zinger burger, and the KFC-Style chicken, both are more or less equivalent. The other thing people come to KFC for, is the Krushers. So our idea is to broaden our range to give different reasons to different consumers. If we are successful, our task is done.

B&E: How has been the fiscal year 2011 for you?
DK: We have crossed the 150 stores, and we are now present in 35 cities. We are growing at 70% per year, and we aim to achieve 500 stores by 2015, and we are well on track with this momentum. This year has been stellar for us; we have brought in variety, with value launch, bringing in snacks (popcorn chicken) and more beverages to the table. Overall, we have been on a great drive for the last couple of years.

B&E: How are you minimising the impact of slowdown and inflation?
DK: We believe India is still a much better place than the rest of the world, it is growing fast. Also, we have long term contracts with our suppliers, and we work hard to minimise supply-chain impact. For this we had to take some price increases, but we didn’t touch our value range which still starts at Rs.25. So, we are trying to give value to consumers.

B&E: How do you compare yourself to McDonald’s?
DK: We don’t compare ourselves to McDonald’s. The unique thing that we have been able to do is, to develop a young and unique brand that is seamless in that aspect across everything from our assets, to our menu, food, communication and connect with our TG. Our strength is simplicity of thought, and serving innovative products.

B&E: How do you look at localisation?
DK: We have done a lot of localisation for India. So, besides our chicken hallmark offerings, the entire veg. range, including Veg Zinger, a lot of Krushers flavours (like Kraffechino), have been localised as well. Even the recently launched grilled chicken offering is locally developed.

B&E: How do you want to market yourself from here on?
DK: Everything we do at KFC is rooted in consumer insight. As I said our core target is young adults and teenagers, everything we do – be it the store design, the communication, or our touch-points – is around the same. We try to ensure a seamless experience; it connects with consumers. So everything talks together, and connects with them via everything we do. Our store itself is also an advertisement for us; it creates high eyeballs for us. And that’s besides a lot of television (over 50%) and some digital communication. We plan to do radio from this year in a big way.

B&E: How are you trying to cater to the kids and family consumers, which is a big segment, and form a strong McDonald’s consumer base?
DK: We clearly define ourselves as young, and we are. Over 60% of the country is under-30, so we have a winning statistics. Of course we cater to all groups, we do get families in fair numbers, but the youth space is such that its aspirational to all in a sense. But our communication is focused towards young adults.

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