The KFC Bombay Fiery Crunch two-piece chicken platter (left) and the burger.
FRIED chicken can be found in most of the world’s cuisines, though the flavours and styles may differ for the popular and tasty dish. This is the perfect reason for fried chicken to feature in KFC Malaysia’s Tasty Travels series, which has been on-going for the past three months.
Last week, the Tokyo Black Pepper Mushroom Chicken Chop was taken out of the menu and in came the Bombay Fiery Crunch, as the fast-food chain launched its third instalment of the special promotion product.
After a Thailand-inspired green curry sauce fried chicken, followed by the shiitake mushroom peppery gravy from Japan, KFC has turned up the heat with a flavourful marinade of Indian chilli spices and a crunchy cornflake batter.
The series is based on how Malaysians love to travel, said KFC Holdings Malaysia (KFCH) general manager for marketing Kelvin Hong. “The fact is, when we travel, we always look for the best of foods,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.
The concept is to bring the different flavours around the world back to KFC’s stores without the need to go abroad. Hong pointed out: “It is what inspired us to run the Tasty Travels series within KFC, to give customers the opportunity to savour authentic tastes from around the region.”
Senior vice-president of KFCH, Ling Mee Jiuan, also highlighted: “Bombay is a city rich with unique cultural heritage, spices and food,” explaining the group’s decision to make the Indian business capital the series’ third destination.
“We want to tell the customers that when they want to taste certain unique flavours from another country, they don’t have to go far to get it,” said Ling. She added that the marketing strategy of a six-week plus promotion period as “strategic”.
Pointing out that KFC customers need something new on a regular basis, a promotion that comes with “other value layers” of special offers was necessary,” she said.
Hong said, “You can think of it as a limited edition series,” explaining that the Bombay Fiery Crunch will be the last of the special series this year, with plans to continue next year.
As part of the strategy to offer a fresh experience to customers, the promotion also includes a burger version of the flavour (RM7.95 for a la carte or RM9.95 for a combo meal), which along with the two-piece chicken platter priced at RM10.95, is offered for lunch (12pm to 3pm) and dinner (6pm to 9pm). The meal combos come with KFC’s Cheezy Wedges, a butterscotch bun and a Sjora Mango Peach drink.
Following in the same vein as the series of television commercials that featured the Bangkok and Tokyo instalments earlier, the 21-second long Bombay Fiery Crunch commercial has the same couple “travelling” to Bombay in search of the fiery crunch fried chicken flavour, only to be led around in a dance, literally.
Played in three languages — English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, the TV commercials and a series of radio ads form an “integrated media campaign” — together with newspaper, outdoor and online media advertising — that has been effective in creating awareness and public engagement.
Having spent close to RM2 million on the campaign thus far, KFCH places their sales return expectations for the promotional product at a minimum of 15% from total sales. From the previous two instalments, Hong divulges that they have done “reasonably well within expectations”.
On whether Malaysian customers are willing to move from the usual menu and try new things, Hong smiled and said that the response has been rather exciting.
Ling was clear that the results speak for themselves. She said especially in urban centres, there has been an indication of a willingness to try new products. On an average week, Ling revealed that five million customers eat at KFC’s 596 outlets nationwide.
Using that figure for average customers per week, and based on the sales expectation ratio of 15%, it means an average of 750,000 diners will be enjoying a taste of KFC’s Bombay Fiery Crunch this week.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 4, 2014.