KFC, the global chicken restaurant brand under the umbrella of Yum! Brands, Inc., boasts a rich history marked by success and innovation that spans several decades. The brand's inception can be traced back to 1930, when Colonel Harland Sanders, a single cook, crafted a recipe that would become a worldwide sensation.
His "finger lickin' good" recipe, a secret blend of herbs and spices, was initially scribbled on the back of his kitchen door. Fast forward to the present day, KFC has grown exponentially, boasting over 22,000 outlets spread across 135 countries, thereby establishing itself as a global leader in its category.
The brand's market leadership is attributed to its commitment to product innovation, insight-driven marketing, and digital leadership. KFC's internal team operates under the mission of "Frictionless Fried Chicken," a testament to their dedication to digitizing and automating numerous customer-facing and back-of-house processes.
The expansion of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in the Spanish market serves as a testament to the company's successful growth strategy, which combines innovative marketing techniques, adaptation to local tastes, and the effective use of technology. This report will delve into the intricacies of KFC's growth strategy, its culturally inclusive marketing campaigns, the subsequent impact on Spanish society, and the future trajectory of the fast-food giant in Spain.
KFC in Spain: Innovative marketing
KFC's expansion in Spain has been nothing short of impressive, marked by a steady increase in its presence across the regions. The company's innovative marketing strategies have played an instrumental role in this expansion. A prime example of this innovative approach is the "KFC Air" campaign launched few weeks ago. This campaign, which marked the inauguration of a new restaurant in Tenerife, involved a commercial airplane flying over the islands. The airplane pointed out the location of the new outlet, symbolizing KFC's creative and out-of-the-box approach to marketing.
'Enjoy, it's beautiful' was a campaign created by the PS21 creativity agency. The main premise of the campaign is that "Enjoyment is imperfect". The ad shows seven different character face-expressions while eating fried chicken, showing genuineness in their faces and celebrating something as basic as taste.
The spot was recorded over different Colonel Sanders restaurants in Madrid, and it shows seven different stories with a single common denominator: people in their minds having joy while eating their fried chicken. The famous 'You Are So Beautiful' by Joe Cocker is played in the background to reinforce through humor but with a poetic touch, the paradox of pleasure and subjective beauty. The campaign was published in Spain in April, 2023.
The "Enjoy, it's beautiful" campaign struck a chord with the Spanish audience due to its humorous approach. Reflecting the Spanish tendency not to take themselves too seriously, the campaign's hilarious depiction of people enjoying their fried chicken was relatable and resonated well with local humor. By portraying everyday settings and postures, complete with finger-licking enjoyment, the campaign successfully connected with the Spanish audience, adding a level of authenticity and appeal.
KFC in Spain: Cultural adaptation
However, the success of KFC in Spain extends beyond its innovative marketing strategies. The company has made a conscious effort to adapt its menu to cater to Spanish tastes. This adaptation has involved incorporating local flavours and ingredients into its offerings. This culturally inclusive approach has not only shown respect for the local culture but also enhanced the relatability and appeal of the brand to the Spanish population.
The introduction of American fast-food culture by KFC has led to a shift in dining habits in Spain. The convenience and speed of service offered by fast-food restaurants like KFC resonate with the fast-paced lifestyle of the urban population. This resonance has led to a growing preference for quick-service restaurants over traditional dining options, signifying a shift in societal norms and preferences.
The presence of KFC in Spain has also led to significant economic implications. The company's operations have led to job creation and investment, contributing directly to the local economy. Furthermore, KFC's global social impact initiatives, which aim to provide skill-building opportunities and food to fight inequality, have had a considerable local impact likewise.
KFC's adaptation to Spanish tastes includes offerings like Kentucky Fries with Cheddar Cheese and Bacon, the Mazorca, and the availability of beer, a popular choice in Spain's hot weather. These localized menu options add a level of familiarity that resonates with the local population. By providing choices that align with Spanish dining preferences, KFC empowers its customers, enhancing their dining experience and strengthening the brand's appeal in the Spanish market.
If you're in Spain you'll be able to check KFC menu here. Otherwise use a VPN.
KFC in Spain: Social responsibility
KFC's commitment to minimizing its environmental impact is another critical aspect of its operations in the southern market. The company has made commitments to make all customer-facing plastic packaging recoverable or reusable.
It has also pledged to source all fiber-based packaging from certified or, preferably, recycled sources. These initiatives resonate with the increasingly environmentally conscious Spanish population and reflect KFC's commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Looking at KFC's future projections, the company sees the potential to triple in size in the coming years, especially in overseas markets. This growth trajectory could lead to a rise in the annual unit growth for Yum, KFC's parent company. Much of this growth has been in emerging markets like India, indicating a similar potential for growth in Spain.
In Spain, KFC is steadfast in its expansion strategy, setting a goal to operate over 400 restaurants in Spain by the end of 2024. This ambitious plan follows the successful opening of 247 stores in 2022, a year that saw the creation of over 1,000 new jobs.
José Manuel Rubio, Chief Development Officer & Market Coordinator of KFC Iberia, emphasized the company's commitment to this growth trajectory.
"Having set a new annual record for openings, we remain committed to expanding our presence across all communities with our franchisees. Over the next two years, we will continue our expansion plan, aiming to achieve our most ambitious goal yet - more than 50 new openings per year, culminating in over 400 restaurants in Spain by the end of 2024. Our goal is to maintain our leadership in the Spanish fried chicken market," —Rubio stated.
2022 was a landmark year for KFC, as it surpassed its previous annual record set in 2019 by opening 30 new restaurants. This achievement brought the total number of KFC restaurants to 247 in Spain and 304 across Spain and Portugal.
The year concluded on a high note, with KFC opening six new restaurants in the final week of 2022, including locations in Madrid, Vigo, and the Valencian Community.Technologic innovation
KFC's technology adoption
KFC is also investing in convenience technologies to ease friction for customers and employees. This investment includes a delivery tracking system for restaurant managers to track driver availability/location and for customers to check the status of their orders. The company is also rolling out temperature-regulating Bluetooth sensors for kitchens, augmented and assisted reality glasses for employee training, and investing in robotics for broader applications, and scalability.
In conclusion, the growth of KFC in the Spanish market is a testament to its innovative strategies, cultural adaptation, and commitment to social and societal responsibilities. The future of KFC in Spain is ripe with possibilities. The company's future projections indicate a strong potential for further growth, underpinned by a commitment to technological innovation and customer convenience. As KFC continues to expand and innovate, it is poised to further solidify its position in the Spanish fast-food market, setting a precedent for other fast-food chains to follow. The success of KFC in Spain offers valuable insights for other businesses looking to expand in the country. KFC's ability to blend innovative marketing with cultural adaptation demonstrates the importance of understanding and connecting with the local audience. The humorous and relatable marketing campaigns, coupled with a menu tailored to local tastes, have been key to KFC's success. Other businesses can learn from KFC's approach, recognizing the value of authenticity, local relevance, and customer empowerment in achieving growth in this new market.
At iBerotech, we have over 12 years of experience working with financial services organizations while navigating the challenges of the Spain market, successfully launching business operations in the Spanish fintech ecosystem.
Key contacts in the food services industry in Spain
FIAB- Federación de Industrias de Alimentación y Bebidas (Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries)
FEHR – Federación Española de Hostelería (Spanish Federation for HRI Sector)
ASEDAS – Asociación Española de Distribuidores, Autoservicios y Supermercados (Spanish Association for Distributors and Supermarkets)
ANGED – Asociación Nacional de Grandes y Medianas Empresas de Distribución (National Association of Midsize and Large Distributors)
Asociación de Cadenas de Restauración Moderna (Spanish Restaurant Chain Association)
Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar Social (Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare)
Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AECOSAN (Spanish Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency)
Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)