KFC is a QR fast food restaurant chain that was founded in Corbin, Kentucky by Colonel Harland D. Sanders, an early developer of the Quick Service restaurant and pioneer of the restaurant franchise concept. KFC popularized chicken in the fast-food industry, diversifying the market by challenging the dominance of hamburgers and fries. With its pressured fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sander’s recipe of 11 herbs and spices, KFC has expanded into the world’s second largest restaurant chain, with over 22,500 locations globally in 150 countries as of 2019. (Wikipedia, 2020)
In general, Fast food is more reactive when compared to other restaurant industries, as it pushes and pulls with the American economy, which partly has to do with consumer and business trends. Technology is a major front in the ongoing battle between restaurant chains as they seek to make themselves more convenient and serviceable. By the 1990s, the internet started to influence how Americans bought take-away and as early as 1997, restaurants started to offer online ordering with ‘website for menus’ where the public could order their favourite foods online. (Rude, 2016) Adding these services has other benefits besides convenience, as online ordering has an average check that is 60% higher than normal, and the business is ‘highly incremental’ meaning consumers are likely surfing the web to order a meal. (Maze, 2019)
KFC did not register a website under the domain KFC.com until the early months of 2002. By then, web development was already developing at a rapid pace. With the introduction of a software program called Flash, companies could incorporate music, video and animations into the website, increasing the audio-visual and consumer experience. (Jung, 2018) As seen above, the KFC website in 2002 had interactive menus, bubble buttons and crisp pictures. Each function located under the red store locator band was dedicated to a series of information for the public to read. These included information on KFC itself, their menu, recent news related to KFC and even job opportunities. The functions were very straight forward and each lead to a different dedicated page. A store locator function meant that people could find the nearest KFC in their area for order. Due to the constraints of early web development, the design compared to nowadays seems a bit tacky and basic.
The KFC website in 2012 saw significant improvements to the consumer experience. This could be associated to a shift in web design approach called responsive web design. The main idea was that a single website could respond and adapt to different display environments, meaning increased efficiency in web development and maintenance. (Jung, 2018)This led to a new web design trend – flat design – which embraced an efficient and visually pleasing minimalist 2D style. This new style emphasized functionality over ornamental design elements. (Jung, 2018)This is inherently obvious with the new KFC redesign, it used less colours for their website and stuck to their signature colours of red, black and white. They maintained most of their functions from the 2002 website but also split them onto the top and bottom of the page: the top catered to consumers and the bottom catered towards potential careers, legal information and others. Smaller details such as social media links and language change are also found at the bottom. Their menu also expanded with more choices, with many different pictures paired with each menu item.
By focusing on improving customer services, it is more likely that it will lead to increase in sales. Choosing to integrate new ordering and payment technology, more functional and practical website will not only improve the customers experience but also positively impact the company. These aforementioned improvements in web design can be associated with the trend in website development improvements, market competition and technological advancements. With technology being a primary factor in providing a carefully designed consumer journey and experience inside and outside the restaurant.
Rude, E. (2016, April 4). What take-out food can teach you about American history . Retrieved from Time: https://time.com/4291197/take-out-delivery-food-history/
Wikipedia. (2020, oct 9). Wikipedia. Retrieved from KFC: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KFC
Maze, J. (2019, october 15). Restaurant Business. Retrieved from KFC’s future: Online ordering, more delivery and artificial intelligence : https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/technology/kfcs-future-online-ordering-more-delivery-artificial-intelligence
Jung, J. (2018, September 4). A nostalgic journey through the evolution of web design. Retrieved from The conversation: https://theconversation.com/a-nostalgic-journey-through-the-evolution-of-web-design-98626