The Success of KFC China

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Innovation is an important aspect of business today. It is important for companies to be innovative in order to stay competitive with their competitors. Innovation can come in different forms depends on the company’s objective. KFC, one of the most popular fast-food restaurants by the Yum! Brands, chooses to be innovative for their business model. Although, there is a huge amount of fast food chain available in the global market, KFC found the key to stand out from the intense competitive environment. By expanding the business to China, KFC learned unprecedented success by being different, not by being the same. The company’s business model is all about adapting to the local culture and understanding the needs of the Chinese market. Three main innovative strategies of KFC in China are localizing the menu, understanding the Chinese culture, and hiring local management.

The first innovative strategy of KFC China is localizing the menu. Trying to sell the same products or services is a typical approach to most foreign expansion for franchise businesses (Bell, 2011). However, one-size fits all approach is not what KFC chooses to implement for their company. According to Shelman, the writer of the case study regarding KFC’s Explosive Growth in China, key success for KFC China is to change the menu to suit Chinese tastes and style of eating. “One of the lessons I take away from this case is that to do China, you have to do China”, says Shelman. KFC localizes their offerings and adapts their existing products to appeal to the Chinese customers’ needs. The menu features Chinese local food like egg and vegetables soup. Examples of innovative products are the Dragon Twister (chicken roll of old Beijing) and the glass jelly milk tea (Zhou...

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... conclusion, to compete with the intense competition in today’s fast-food market, KFC China differentiates the company by being innovative. Three significant innovative strategies are localizing the menu, understanding the Chinese culture, and hiring local management. KFC demonstrates that one size fits all approach in the global market does not always work. Many typical Western approach to foreign expansion is to deliver the same products or services as their original establishment. For instance, Domino’s Pizza, an American restaurant chain, nearly failed in Australia due to the underestimation of the need to adapt their offerings to the local tastes. KFC China offers important lessons for global firms. It is essential to know that to what extend the company should keep the existing business model in emerging markets and to what extend it should be thrown away.

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