Magazine article Marketing

Fast Food Gets Mixed Reactions

Magazine article Marketing

Fast Food Gets Mixed Reactions

Article excerpt

PepsiCo has started trialling a combination of KFC and Pizza Hut products within a single site. If successful, it could set a trend in the competitive fast-food sector. But could it also confuse existing brand messages.

Fast-food restaurants are now a fixture of the British high street. Between them the major players, such as McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC, account for more than 1700 outlets across the country.

Standing alongside them is a range of independent rivals, all clawing for the same custom. Up to now, consumers have been asked to make their decision about which brand to buy before they enter the door of the restaurant.

But PepsiCo has now upped the stakes in the high-street fast-food battle by launching a pilot store, combining two of its key brands, Pizza Hut and KFC, in one outlet.

PepsiCo's pilot restaurant in Norbury, south London has been sub-branded 'The Taste Zone' and a similar take-away only outlet is also on trial in Hampstead.

PepsiCo refuses to discuss the Taste Zone or how it fits into the group's marketing plans for the two brands - but the move would appear to be a way of gaining an edge over the growing competition in the marker.

It gives the KFC customers an opportunity to sample Pizza Hut products and vice versa. If the heavy user - alias the fast-food junkie - is converted, then PepsiCo is looking at the potential of a whole new market opening up before its very eyes.

A roll-out to a large number of the company's 700 locations could spark an all-out war to retain customers between the major players.

Norbury is hardly the fast-food mecca of suburbia. London Road has a sprinkling of distinctly second-rate independent outlets that would pose little threat to the dominance enjoyed by the major chains.

The Taste Zone, therefore, stands like a beacon 200 yards from the station. The familiar smiling face of Colonel Sanders beams out from the bright fascia alongside its Pizza Hut symbol.

Fast-food fast facts

There are an estimated 46,000 fast-food outlets in UK, in a market
worth [pounds]5.4bn in 1994. The top three categories are
sandwiches, hamburgers, and pizza and pasta.

                  1992          1994        1990-1994
                [pounds]bn    [pounds]bn    % change

Sandwiches        1.50           1.88         +71
Hamburgers        0.85           0.99         +34
Pizza & Pasta     0. … 
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