Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: KFC Takes a Seat at the Breakfast Table

Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: KFC Takes a Seat at the Breakfast Table

Article excerpt

KFC's entry into the early-morning market could pose a real threat to rivals but first it must change consumer perceptions.

A new era in fast-food retailing was ushered in last week in central London as KFC launched its A.M. breakfast menu.

In a radical move, the chicken restaurant chain is planning to take a bite out of the lucrative breakfast market, which, according to Sandelman & Associates, accounts for 10% of all fast-food sales.

KFC's flagship Marble Arch restaurant is the first to introduce the eight-item menu but the plan is to trial it in the Tyne-Tees region later this year before a full national roll-out takes place in 2009. Beyond that the intention is to take the concept global.

Jennelle Tilling, KFC's vice-president of marketing, describes the development, which has been a year in the planning, as 'the most important thing' for KFC in 2008. The target is to have breakfast contributing up to 15% of total sales, although she concedes it will not be an easy task.

'The average price is lower than the daytime menu so we do need to get quite a lot of traffic through to make money from it, but so far so good,' she says. Upgrading its hot and cold beverages by introducing Lavazza coffee and Tropicana smoothies will go some way toward pushing up ticket prices.

KFC A.M. will primarily be aimed at the 'white van man'. Tilling says the advertising will be based on the message that the breakfast 'sets you up to be a fully charged hero ready to tackle the day ahead' and will take an 'emotional rather than functional' approach.

However, commentators claim KFC faces an uphill task in terms of consumer perception in its quest to be fully accepted as a credible place to have breakfast.

Perhaps inevitably, David Kisilevsky, Burger King vice-president of marketing for EMEA, said he would be 'surprised' if the initiative takes off.

'I believe KFC will struggle to persuade UK customers to accept a breakfast offering - no matter how good the product - from a brand seen as having such strong roots in chicken,' he says. 'I remember Pizza Hut testing a breakfast menu about 10 years ago and it quickly sank without trace.'

After Marketing revealed KFC's plans last week, a number of rivals and interested parties flocked to the launch restaurant. …

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