eTail Europe 2021

London, UK

Yum! Brands is Using Omnichannel to Turn KFC and Pizza Hut RED

RED stands for Relevant, Easy, and Distinctive, and surely represents three core goals for most brands.

"RED brands have something that other brands don't have," said Yum! Brands CEO, Greg Creed. "They have something really powerful. Non-RED brands are mirrors. What's a mirror brand? A mirror brand is just a brand that reflects whatever they hear from their customer, whatever they hear is happening in society. But you don't actually have any soul as a mirror brand. You just waft wherever the consumer insights are telling you to go."

RED brands, on the other hand, are more like magnets. They understand themselves and their customers and this draws people towards them. They understand what customers need to make their lives better or simpler and can provide those solutions.

However, when a business has long held a reputation as a brick and mortar experience, it can be difficult for them to achieve these goals in the digital age. This is especially true of restaurant brands who are known for being predominantly dine-in experiences rather than for takeaway.

Two such brands include KFC and Pizza Hut - both owned by parent company, Yum! Brands, itself a subsidiary of PepsiCo - which are now looking to use omnichannel strategies to break free of their dine-in reputations.


The world-famous fried chicken brand is embracing omnichannel through digital marketing and in new technology-powered customer experiences. One little quirk of the marketing side of this is that the official KFC Twitter account only follows eleven other profiles - the five Spice Girls, and six people called Herb.

It's little touches like this which spark imagination and joy in audiences and helps build a strong digital reputation for brands.

"In terms of digital and technology, it goes a lot more than just the consumer interface," continues Creed. "With the data that we've got and the knowledge that we have on digital, it's allowed us to make our marketing much more effective. Globally, we've got a very sophisticated team of tech-savvy marketers and they're applying their knowledge on digital and data in different ways."

When it comes to tangible customer experiences, however, KFC has been experimenting with many initiatives designed to make it easier for customers to enjoy the company's signature fried chicken outside of the restaurant environment.

From click and collect and self-serve kiosks to app-powered delivery services, KFC is determined to boost the digital availability of its products.

"This largely started out with install through the old convenience way of drive thru, but today is much more through things like kiosks," said Creed. "But more and more it's about home delivery and click-and-collect. Given the scale that we have our ambition is to become an omnichannel global powerhouse."

Pizza Hut

Ironically, in its relatively short history, Pizza Hut has gone through a lot of trouble to brand itself as a dining experience rather than - as is traditional for pizza restaurants - a takeaway focussed brand. The company even briefly considered dropping the pizza from its name altogether and becoming "Pasta Hut," but the idea was voted down by customers.

The thing that's hanging over all of us is our dine-in business," said Creed. "This creates some challenges and also creates some opportunities. Even though we have over 6,000 delivery points of distribution in the US, people still don't necessarily associate us with delivery. And the dine-in, the red-roof legacy, I think certainly has something to do with that. But continued investment in value and making sure we're putting delivery in digital online, I think will help this."

In part strong-armed into action by the disruption of third-party delivery options such as Deliveroo, Pizza Hut has recently announced the acquisition of the Quick Order platform. Pizza Hut has been partnered with Quick Order for some time now, but the feeling is that by bringing the platform under its wing, the restaurant chain can better align it with its brand and goals.

Final Thoughts

Pizza Hut has a lot of work to do to shed its reputation as a dine-in only experience. However, with the Quick Order acquisition and a new philosophy on digital marketing, ordering, and delivery, Pizza Hut stands a good chance of continuing to succeed in an omnichannel marketplace.

"The Pizza Hut brand has been built and started with the legacy of being a dine-in full service restaurant concept," concluded Creed. "We know that going forward we will unlock the true potential of this brand by delivering on a modern pizza delivery experience to our customers. That growth will be unlocked when we make our brand more distinctive and relevant by making it easier for our customers to access a better pizza. We have to make it easier for our customers to access that better pizza experience."

You can hear Pizza Hut Digital Ventures' Head of Product, Analytics, and User Experience, Kunal Banerjee speak at eTail Europe 2019, being held in June, at the QEII Centre, Westminster, London.

Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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