KFC takes a 'test and learn' approach to tech development

Fast food retailer KFC says it is now taking a data-driven approach to new business initiatives.

The Yum! Brands restaurant chain is using analytics technology to ensure it measures the success of its new campaigns, products or wider business developments, adding that a 'test and learn' approach to retailing enables the organisation to better serve its customers.

Working alongside cloud-based analytics software company, Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), KFC has been assessing how customers respond to its restaurant remodel programme. The system has also reportedly allowed the business to fine tune operational initiatives and identify how customers will respond to new products.

KFC is now in the process of designing new tests using APT's software.

Chris Holmes, KFC's commercial director, commented: "Bringing new products to our customers for new occasions is a key part of KFC's strategy, and previously it was difficult to isolate what was happening because of the product, and what was due to other factors such as asset type, weather and competition.

"APT enables us accurately to measure the halo and cannibalisation effect of new product introductions, manage menu complexity, and by doing so, ensure that the items we introduce not only drive profitability but also increase guest satisfaction."

Other retailers working with APT include KFC's sister company Pizza Hut in the UK, as well as Costa Coffee, Subway, Starbucks, Wendy's and Dunkin' Donuts.

With so much new technology around and with retail undergoing something of a reset moment as the industry comes to terms with ever-more empowered and demanding consumers, the test and learn approach is becoming an increasingly common way of operating. It can help retailers embed a culture of trialling new concepts, running with those that are successful and, at the same time, quickly dropping initiatives that clearly are not working.

In an exclusive article for Essential Retail earlier this year, Kurt Salmon senior manager Stephen Taylor said: "Some of the most successful retailers are famed for their decisive nature and ability to act on little more than gut instinct.

"Yet in today's complex and fast-changing market place, intuition has to be supported by facts, in most cases now, based on solid customer data and feedback rapidly collected and objectively measured."

He added: "When making decisions on which new concepts and products should be introduced, test and learn is becoming an established way of working among those brands and retailers outperforming their peers."

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