Central Restaurants Group (CRG), the operator of KFC, is set to invest 500 million baht to transform the chain to digital stores next year.
Piyapong Chitchumnong, head of quick-service restaurant & Western cuisine and head of KFC, said the budget is to open 15-20 new KFC digital stores, with some funds dedicated to transforming 15-20 existing branches to the digital concept.
"Digital stores are our new direction for the next 3-5 years. Since introducing KFC digital stores last year, 75% of customers now use digital offerings, while 25% opt for conventional orders," he said. "The KFC concept has evolved to match the changing lifestyles of its customers, providing an enhanced experience with modern design elements while retaining the intrinsic fun and vibrancy synonymous with KFC."
The company expects to open 15-20 new KFC outlets this year, bringing the total branches under CRG management to 335.
Mr Piyapong said the company recently allocated 17 million baht to revamp an outlet at CentralWorld mall to a "KFC Digital Lifestyle Hub". The goal is a more enjoyable dining experience, featuring modern design and a contemporary atmosphere, he said.
The new bucket kiosk service, an ordering and automated payment system, caters to the preferences of the new generation. The new branch also offers a photo spot in the store named "Bucket Crew Space", narrating KFC's story through the lens of Thai graffiti artist JECKS BKK (Tatchakorn Sirawatcharadej).
Another addition is KFC Café by Arigato Coffee Bar, aiming to resonate with the tech-savvy generation, said Mr Piyapong.
"This year, fast food chains face tough competition. The market is crowded with both established and new players who keep changing their approach. We expect the food business to grow, as the chicken category is strong, while the burger and pizza segments slow," he said.
CRG expects sales for KFC to grow by 12% to exceed 8 billion baht in 2024, rising to 10 billion in 2026.