KFC – Digital Transformation

The Challenge

KFC opened the first restaurant in China in 1987, when western style fast food restaurants were unknown and a novelty. In China, KFC was a taste of America and a place where people went for special occasions. By 2015, KFC had been in China for 28 years and was losing its young and energetic image.

Our challenge was to help support the transformation of the KFC business in China through the creation of an experience that would engage with millennials. Resulting in growing influence and strong sales growth.


We noticed that light meals have become a lifestyle trend among young consumers. Moreover, the rapid development of the food delivery service has also changed the competitive landscape. Today, young Chinese consumers go to a restaurant more for experiences and social purposes.

Based on this insight, Isobar and KFC put in place several strategic focuses which encompassed an interactive, innovative and entertaining dining experience. We then set out to create a digital transformation for new retail experiences and brand commerce.


1. Rejuvenate KFC’s image and brand experiences to turn around business

KFC China launched a new brand proposition “Be You”, which encouraged consumers to be themselves and enjoy life with KFC. A series of campaigns were developed to offer consumers pleasant and fresh dining experiences.

2. Transform a traditional offline retail chain to a digital-centric organization

By building an effective online/ offline eco-system, KFC was able to turn the traffic from offline restaurants into online traffic. Through online traffic, KFC accumulated data, improved customer relationships and further turned online traffic into business. KFC was transformed into a digitally-led brand which enhanced customer experience, improve KFC’s operational efficiency while creating brand commerce beyond food & beverage.

3. Go beyond “fried chicken” by diversifying products and services into strong growth categories

To meet fragmented and fast-changing consumer needs, we developed new products and services. The successful launches of K soymilk and KPRO have raised KFC from simply a “Fried Chicken” brand to a trendy and relevant chain restaurant satisfying multiple consumer segments.

Result / Business Effect

KFC has delivered strong overall performance with impressive system sales growth and same store sales growth in China.

Driven by digital initiatives, KFC continued to strengthen membership programs. By the end of the second fiscal quarter of 2017, total members of KFC WOW Membership reached 83 million, making it one of the largest loyalty programs in the restaurant industry worldwide in terms of number of members.


Sarah Weyman