A radical programme of outlet improvement, brand building and franchise realignment helped KFC France double its size and achieve the highest sales per store of any of KFC’s 110 markets around the world. Ivan Schofield, a Briton who heads the KFC businesses in France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands was a key speaker at last September’s European Foodservice Summit in Zurich. He explains to Bruce Whitehall the strategies behind the re-energising of a global powerhouse brand in one of Europe’s toughest markets.
What has driven KFC’s European strategy in the past decade? Schofield: When the Yum! Brands business was spun off from Pepsico in 1997, the company sought to scale up its presence in strategic parts of Europe. So we had a regional structure of about 16 equity businesses, split between KFC and Pizza Hut, in the main European markets (Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, France and the UK). Such structures can and do work in a lot of organisations, but they can also be disempowering. The first building block you need in any restaurant business is to have decision-making on a local level. We increasingly felt the need to put our talent and innovation as close to the customer as possible. That led to a ceiling on the number of equity business units managing company-owned stores. We chose to re-franchise Spain in 2003 and our franchisee made great progress with the brand in the intervening period however we are now reversing that and going back with equity. KFC Poland and Czech businesses existed and Henry Mc- Govern at Amrest did a wonderful job growing them from a very small base. We managed to speed things up in Russia by buying an established brand (Rostik’s) and converting units to KFC. Another significant change is that KFC UK has gone from strength to strength – it’s now an 800 store business whereas in the 1990s it had about 500. It’s become one of our biggest and most profitable businesses around the world.