The new design gives customers something more to look forward to than just a tasty bite.

KFC was first introduced to Beijing in 1987. Its entrance into the Chinese market was greeted with open arms– the American-Chinese fusion menu attracted curious customers from all over the nation. The fast-food industry was brand new to the country, and the Chinese KFC chain quickly established itself as the industry leader.

Despite its initial success, The Yum! Brands Chinese chains have recently experienced a financial downturn. Poultry contamination issues and last year’s 4% decrease in sales have forced management to change direction and overhaul the brand’s dining experience.

In an effort to revamp its image, the company is shifting its focus away from the menu and towards restaurant layout and design. The new “Dining Room” campaign is repositioning the restaurants as a place to linger and relax.

Much like the cafes in western societies, restaurants in Chinese society are the ideal place to catch up with friends or family. Time is cherished, and diners often socialize for hours over a meal. The 130 newly designed KFC’s intend to capitalize on this cultural standard– customers are encouraged to stay for longer periods of time.

Soft lighting, colorful pictures, wood furniture, and free WiFi set a cozy tone that will bring customers into the restaurant for more reasons than just grabbing a quick bite.

The multi-functional spaces are a refuge from chaotic city life– a bit of American southern hospitality for people of all ages to enjoy.

As the leading brand in Chinese fast food, their repositioning strategy may set serious precedents. If successful, it may even make its way across the Pacific. Select American Starbucks have already begun to shake up the food industry with cocktails and burgers. If KFC wants to stay competitive with this emerging culinary force, it may need to take notes from its Chinese counterparts.

KFC // Yum! Brands

[h/t] QZ

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