How KFC is managing through the crisis

Partner Content: To make sure KFC stays in the hearts and minds of consumers until it can open its doors again and welcome everyone back to its restaurants, it used the advanced targeting abilities of Facebook’s Dynamic Ads tools.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the whole world by storm, brands have had to react with lightning speed. Quick-service restaurant brand KFC is no exception.

With its outlets throughout the Middle East, and much of the rest of the world, closed to take-away and dine-in customers, KFC needed to remind and encourage consumers that they can order safely and efficiently online. KFC quickly launched a new contactless delivery service to cater to emerging social distancing practices and ensure its consumers felt comfortable ordering. The brand sent out a heartfelt message to stay home and stay safe. To make sure KFC stays in the hearts and minds of consumers until it can open its doors again and welcome everyone back to its restaurants, it used the advanced targeting abilities of Facebook’s Dynamic Ads tools.

As soon as the threat of coronavirus began to emerge in the Middle East, KFC quickly leveraged its global KFC network, gaining learnings on best practices and implementing a range of even more stringent hygiene and safety practices, one of which was a new contactless delivery service.
Even before social distancing became the norm, KFC made the decision to introduce contactless delivery to make sure that consumers felt 100 per cent confident and comfortable when ordering. The contactless delivery system totally eliminates the need for person-to-person contact between the delivery driver and the consumer, meaning customers can enjoy their food secure in the knowledge that they’re helping themselves and their communities stay safe.

KFC’s contactless delivery ensures customers feel 100per cent confident and comfortable

Once the food is prepared at the restaurant, the bag is sealed with a tamper-proof sticker and the next person to open that bag is the customer, without exception. KFC’s drivers also ensure the food is never left on the floor when it’s delivered – it’s always placed on a sanitised surface. If none is available, drivers use the delivery bag, which is sanitised before and after each and every delivery. KFC describes its team members as being ‘manic’ about hygiene. It has dedicated sanitisation staff who clean every surface in the restaurant every 30 minutes, and all team members wash their hands at least every 15 minutes.

When the chain first started offering its contactless service it found many consumers did not understand what it was all about. It can feel a little impersonal to have your food left for you when you’re used to personal interaction. But as soon as people realised why KFC was implementing the procedure, the response was overwhelmingly positive. KFC says clear communication is key: tell people what to expect and, more importantly, why you’re doing it. If you focus on building trust you will be rewarded.

To help mitigate the impact of store closures, KFC took a data-driven approach to reaching consumers and encouraging them to order online. Working with its media agency Hearts & Science, it leveraged Facebook’s Dynamic Ads solution to personalise creative based on each customer’s interests and profile. Messaging was delivered based on signals pertaining to users’ behaviour on KFC’s website. This helped people get what they wanted and increased the efficiency of KFC’s e-commerce investment by decreasing the brand’s cost per order by 88 per cent – a significant saving for the brand.

The campaign used a funnel approach to target people. Its first layer targeted young adults and young families. It was broad enough to create volume but narrow enough to be highly relevant. The second layer used retargeting to engage anyone who viewed or clicked on KFC’s ads. The campaign also used automatic placements on Facebook and Instagram to generate optimum results at the lowest average cost.

In the Middle East, food delivery sales already exceeded traditional in-store sales before the Covid-19 lockdown. KFC’s combination of Dynamic Ads and innovative creative has the added benefits of growing the delivery business stream and encouraging customers to order online rather than over the phone, which has traditionally been a more popular channel but one with higher operating costs.


Ozge Zoralioglu, chief marketing officer, YUM!Brands / KFC MENA Turkey & Pakistan

“We have always been a natural part of people’s lives, a tasty treat when the craving strikes or for those small moments of joy that just need to be celebrated. When COVID-19 hit and our consumers were suddenly faced with uncertainty and fear, we had to act fast. Within the space of a few days we launched our new contactless delivery service, a method of delivery that eliminates the need for human contact when ordering. This way our customers could still access their favourite KFC food just as easily as before, safe in the knowledge that they were keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.”

Anna Germanos, Head of CPG & Retail MENA at Facebook

“Restricted mobility and closure of restaurants have put unprecedented pressure on offline sales. In times of crisis, agility is the name of the game, and KFC is a brilliant example on how businesses can swiftly adopt new measures to digitize themselves and ensure continuity. By virtue of the platform’s powerful reach, formats, signals and targeting capabilities, KFC’s campaign has boosted not only media KPIs but more importantly online sales. As the shift to online is accelerating, understanding the ingredients of successful online activations is imperative, and KFC had the perfect recipe!”

Austyn Allison, editor of Campaign Middle East

“KFC’s creative provides entertainment and innovation while giving KFC customers back some of the human interaction they might miss while they are cooped up at home. And the brand’s embrace of technology such as Dynamic Ads means it is moving into more sophisticated e-commerce strategy. This sort of targeting has mainly been used by traditional e-commerce retailers in the region, and it is interesting to see QSRs starting to capitalise on the technology. I suspect many others will soon follow KFC’s lead, as our new circumstances encourage innovation.”