Fast food chain KFC has launched a new “high tech” restaurant in Pinelands, Cape Town, featuring digital menus, self-service kiosks – and a two-lane drive-thru.
KFC said that the store is pioneering a new approach to the quick-service food market, which has shifted significantly over the past two years.
“The restaurant business as we know it has changed and as we move into a new era of customer experience, the approach to new restaurants needs to shift too – driven by a shift in preferences and expectations of what brands should be delivering today be it in food, design or experience,” said Thuthuka Nxumalo, chief operations officer at KFC Africa.
Nxumalo said the new KFC Pinelands store is designed to provide quicker, easier, and seamless customer service.
The new KFC store follows a growing shift towards quick dining in South Africa. Restaurant and takeaway sectors are seeing a structural shift post Covid, said John Loos, property sector strategist at FNB.
He pointed to overall growth in restaurant and takeaway dining in the country over the last two years. And while this growth is showing signs of slowing down, it remains solid.
However, more significantly, negative economic events – such as load shedding, rising petrol prices and interest rates – are putting pressure on consumer budgets, pushing them to seek out cheaper food options.
The strategist highlighted a structural shift in the dining market, with consumers shifting towards takeaways and fast food, partly at the expense of other experiences, such as sitting down at restaurants.
“Post-Covid 19 lockdowns, consumers appear far more about convenience and speed, and take-away/fast food outlets cater more for this, loos said. The sharply weaker performance in sit-down restaurants and coffee shops prior to Covid-19 has arguably put retail centres with a greater focus on this at a relative disadvantage.
“In a first for KFC in Africa, this store features digital menu boards in each of the dual lane drive-thrus. It also boasts dedicated self-service kiosks for walk-in customers, a dedicated window for delivery drivers, digital menu boards and the latest in connected kitchen technology which ensures the correct amount of stock at all times as well as better quality management – giving the consumer a guarantee of a great end product,” he said.
KFC is South Africa’s largest fast-food chain, with around 1,000 restaurants countrywide.
“A focus on the Fast Foods and Take Aways category through the Covid-19 period appears to have been significantly more advantageous,” he said.