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Yum optimistic on prospects

A digital rendition of the new KFC flagship which will open in Ekamai.

The delivery arm of Yum Restaurant Thailand recorded a new high in the first four months of this year, driven by the third wave of the pandemic.

Patra Patrasuwan, the company’s head of brand communication, said the company’s delivery and digital distribution channels for KFC have grown since the second wave of Covid-19 in January.

However, the fastest growth rate happened last month. From the Songkran holiday period until now, its delivery business grew 1.5 times compared with the same period last year. It also broke records seen during previous crises such as SARS.

Some 790 KFC stores provide delivery service to customers.

“Demand for delivery is growing because consumers have a terrible feeling, both physically and mentally, amid the third wave after facing the situation for a full year. Moreover, the virus has spread across the country quickly with mounting reports of deaths,” she said.

In addition to the delivery business, sales from digital channels such as its website and app made up 30% of total sales in April, up from 20% in the first quarter of this year.

The share of revenue from dine-in services and delivery accounted for 30% each, while takeaway completed the remaining 40%.

Ms Patra said because of the deteriorating situation compared to the first two waves, the firm remains focused on safety measures to increase customer confidence.

Promotions and prices have to be adjusted to serve customers in every group as they become more price-sensitive and cautious about spending.

Although consumer sentiment is not good, the firm plans to keep expanding in Thailand by opening 75 new restaurants as part of a 1 billion baht investment plan and a shift on focus towards standalone locations.

In January this year, 17 new stores opened, bringing the total number of KFC branches to 854.

In 2020, 72 KFCs opened with over 1 billion baht invested.

“We have expanded our business to Thailand over the past several decades and believe that when Covid-19 is over, our country will have a fast recovery. We are confident about our investments for long-term growth,” she said.

Restaurants Development Co (RDCL), a franchisee partner, is also preparing to open its 100th store, a KFC standalone branch in Ekamai. It will provide service around the clock once restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, more KFC food trucks will also be rolled out to reach more customers.

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