KFC has unveiled a bold new brand expression across its UK restaurant experience. The fresh store format has been designed to express the food company's true values, much loved food proposition and brand story through the experience in its restaurants.
Having already taken KFC several leaps forward in its transformation through a small, fast-casual metropolitan concept, I-AM was asked to update the design, customer journey and in-restaurant communications for KFC’s primary format. A bold energy and vibrancy are driving KFC in the UK and Ireland – celebrating the brand’s story, taking pride in the simple, joyful deliciousness of 'Finger Lickin’ Good' freshly prepared fried chicken and the social aspect of bringing people together over a KFC. I-AM aimed to bring these themes to life with a confident new contemporary cultural relevance.
For larger dine-in restaurants that include a drive thru, I-AM created a model that conveys the proposition’s freshness and appeal, across redefined steps in the customer journey. This new KFC experience required highly distinctive design assets orchestrated as a toolkit of principles, suitable for refitted and new build sites. The concept covered exterior architecture, new ordering/serving processes, brand and product communication and interior design.
Internal and external signage and graphics were executed with a ‘fast casual’ sensibility rather than ‘fast food’, from ‘Hello, What’s Cluckin?’ in the windows to neon signage around the restaurant. Messaging throughout the space is vibrant and expresses KFC’s heritage and brand USPs. Digital screens allow for consistent new promotional content; and self-order kiosks – KFC’s first in the UK – transform customer flow and process.
I-AM expressed compelling themes from the KFC story through barn-inspired architecture, materials and colour application, and drawing out themes of a love for quality chicken. Overhead rafters and chicken-wire chicken figures frame a multi-layered space, configured around KFC’s first trial in the UK of digital kiosk. As much as operationally feasible, the design team removed barriers from the front and back of house – moving away from the traditional fast food servery view to a clear view into the
kitchen more in keeping with contemporary fast-casual models.
The internal dining experience focuses on KFC’s notion of uniting people through food, especially with key pieces of furniture such as the Colonel’s dining table. Digital screens display stories of KFC’s local community engagement as well as brand and promotional visuals. Brand messages were also incorporated, such as 'Feeding Truck Drivers to Millionaires' as said by the Colonel Sanders, which embodies his warmth and hospitality – something which KFC as a brand aims to bring to life in its restaurants.
'After already helping us to develop an innovative, small format urban design concept to unlock new London and city centre locations, we were very pleased to commission I-AM to revitalise our drive thru and high street restaurant experience. Working with our development and marketing teams, I-AM has created a brand experience that increases our appeal, challenges perceptions, incorporates new kiosk ordering technology and brings the customer ever closer to our iconic Original Recipe chicken, which is freshly prepared every day in restaurant. There are also loads of improvements for our team member experience,' says David Batchelor, creative design manager, KFC UK & Ireland.
'KFC is an icon. We have found it incredibly rewarding to work with a KFC client team who fully embrace the need to re-invent how the brand is manifested as a restaurant experience, in order to stay at the top of the sector, and respond to changing consumer expectations,' adds Pete Champion, partner & creative strategy director at I-AM.