KFC digital kiosks – Making great taste better

KFC employees Faria Khan and Kayla Wright, pose infront of the newly installed digital kiosks at the South Park, San Fernando branch. - Photo by Lincoln Holder
KFC employees Faria Khan and Kayla Wright, pose infront of the newly installed digital kiosks at the South Park, San Fernando branch. - Photo by Lincoln Holder

KFC is known worldwide for its great-tasting chicken, made with a secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.

The global conglomerate, also one of the top food franchises in Trinidad and Tobago, has become a national treasure, with TT KFC being hailed as one of the best-tasting in the world.

However, what it is not known for is its customer service. People have constantly complained about waiting in long lines, and facing less-than-satisfactory customer service representatives while ordering their two-piece and fries.

KFC president Roger Rambharose, in correspondence with Business Day, said all that is about to change with its new KFC Kiosks, which provide a simple user interface to order and pay for any of the meals on KFC’s vast menu.

Rambharose told Business Day on Tuesday the new kiosks will improve customer experience and continue to modernise the brand in a world that is quickly becoming digitalised.

Making digitisation extra spicy

The digital kiosk has been rolled out in seven branches – Maraval, Endeavour, St Mary’s, Piarco, Couva, Arouca and South Park.

Rambharose said by the middle of the year, kiosk self-service ordering will be an option in 30 locations and by the end of the year it will be available in all branches in TT.

He said the kiosk service is just one way KFC has been spicing up the digitisation movement.

“We have been transforming the digital landscape in TT over the last five years,” Rambharose told Business Day. “We introduced the KFC app, which is best in class. We also introduced our website, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger ordering platforms.”

The touch-screen interface gives customers access to the full menu. It has a user-friendly software, an integrated scanner for discounts and loyalty points, and provides options for card payment, by either tapping or inserting your debit or credit card.

The digital kiosks at KFC, Long Circular Road, Maraval branch. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

The kiosks also provide a digital receipt as part of KFC’s green agenda, which is given to the customer through scanning a QR code or by SMS.

He said the kiosks will also put back the "fast" in fast food, as current statistics pulled from the stores in which the kiosks have been launched show that the average ordering time – from placing the order to collecting ­–takes 2.5 minutes.

KFC partnered with one of the world’s leading software providers in the global quick-service restaurant technology industry – Cognizant Technology Solutions – to provide the software. Hardware was sourced and installed by a local provider.

Rhambarose said the new technology will be an added service that will come at no added cost to the customer.

“We are committed to designing the business to create a more seamless consumer experience for our customers,” he said. “With this vision and commitment comes the acceptance that we must invest in the assets that will continually enhance the customer experience. The net effect of this is that these costs must be borne by the business and not the consumer.”

At the beginning of February, KFC increased prices on some meals by $1-$2. The KFC Munch Pack with one piece of chicken and a side order went from $21.95 to $22.95; the Super Deal which comes with a piece of chicken, a side order, a biscuit and a drink went from $28.95 to $29.95. The Big Deal – two pieces of chicken, a side and a drink – was $37.95, but is now $38.95.

The popular Boss Meal – three pieces of chicken, a side and a drink – went up by two dollars from $49.95 to $51.95.

The price increase led some consumers to take to social media, calling for a boycott of the brand. Shortly after the increase in prices, KFC announced a return of the pumping stations for condiments, which were phased out as a measure to reduce the spread of the covid19 virus.

Roger Rambharose, VP KFC and Pizza Hut (left) and Kern Ramlochan, digital manager, KFC and Pizza Hut, pose infront of the new KFC kiosks. - Photo courtesy KFC

Enhancing customer service

Rambharose said the kiosks are another tool that enhances KFC’s customer service by making ordering easy. He said the user interface allows customers to order quickly and without hassle, and to take an active role in ensuring the order is accurately placed. Customers also stand to benefit by getting away from the long lines at the counter and ordering using a more streamlined service.

Oh, did we mention the discounts? Rambharose added KFC will also bring special offers and discounts to customers using the kiosk system to order.

“Kiosk users will have access to exclusive offers, which may be discounts off our standard menu,” he said. “Similar to other digital customers, kiosk customers can also earn and redeem KFC loyalty points.”

He said this phase of the roll-out has not been completed, but will be available to all kiosk customers when it is.

He said all this will enhance customer experience at their favourite KFC locations.

Customers who are not tech-savvy or would prefer to use the over-the-counter service can still go to the counter and make their orders, Rambharose said.

“While we are interested in guiding consumers to digital channels to enhance their experience, we are aware that there will be some segments of our consumer base who may prefer to transact exclusively in cash,” he said. “For these people, there will always be a cashier who will process their orders.”

He added that while digital adoption is one of the goals for KFC, the transition may be a challenge to some of their valued customers. He said this drove the idea of staffing the kiosks with assistants who will greet customers and teach them how to use the kiosks for greater service.

“As a brand that has been rolling out digital channels for the past few years, we are familiar with the nuances of technology adoption,” he said. “These experiences have taught us that we need to be there for customers who may be low tech adopters or may by uneasy with the technology.”

Consumers give positive feedback

Rambharose said consumer feedback has been positive since the roll-out of the kiosks. He said consumers have shown specific appreciation for the user-friendly software and interface. Consumers also said they liked being able to customise meal purchases to their own specifications in their own time.

“One of the features they love is the digital invoices,” he added.

He said the kiosk service is intended to support and not to replace staff. He said staff that are moved from the counter will be absorbed in the packing and distribution sections of each branch, ensuring no staff are lost in this transition.

He ultimately said the kiosk service is simply a physical representation of KFC’s already booming digital channels.

Customer Sharla Pierre places an order using the kiosk at KFC Long Circular Road, Maraval branch on Tuesday. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

“There will be absolutely no negative impact on staff from the roll-out of these kiosks.

“Over the past several years we have steadily implemented more and more digital channels. We are currently leading the market in Latin America and the Caribbean region on digital sales.

"This would never have been possible without the full support of our in-store teams. As such the teams at the stores which have been completed could not be more excited about having this new digital channel in our stores.”

For the financial year of 2023, ending on November 30, Prestige Holdings, parent company to KFC, Subway, Starbucks and TGI Fridays, recorded a profit before tax of $84 million, hailed as a historical high by chairman Christian E Mouttet. Its published consolidated audited financial results said PHL's revenue increased by 20 per cent to $1.3 billion.


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