CASE STUDY: KFC in China
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)- one of the most known fast food chains in the world started in the early 1930's by Kernel Sanders in the Southern USA as a small franchise operation. Colonel Sanders has become a well known personality throughout thousands of KFC restaurants World wide. Quality, service and cleanliness (QSC)represents the most critical success factors to KFC's global success. Throughout its 35-year history, the company has gone through several stages and has answered to a legion of corporate parents from Heublein to R.J. Reynolds. The most significant stage was when the enterprise was sold to the American giant, Hubelin International in 1974. Rapid growth throughout the use of franchising together with increased competition from primarily MacDonald's reduced the consistency of the standard of both food and service on the individual franchise level leading to massive decreases in profitability. Together with low Research and Development funding from Hubelin, the division found it difficult to match the expansion plans of its main competitors. KFC responded to these problems by improving staff training, employ a new manager- Michael Miles capable of managing an effective turnaround strategy. The QSC motto was emphasized on a global level together with slogans such as "We do Chicken Right". In 1982, Hubelin International was acquired by R.J. Reynolds and Richard Mayer succeeded Miles. INTERNATIONALIZATION OF KFC:
Opposite to Hubelin International, R.J. Reynolds was willing to fund KFC's overseas expansion plans. In order to reduce risk, KFC encouraged franchising in complicated markets. This reduced financial risk, but also increased problems of operational control, as local franchisees often were more interested in maximizing profits in the short term rather than to adhere to corporate standards and strategic plans. To find the balance between corporate control and cultural sensitivity has been the main point of concern at KFC. THE CHINA OPTION.
The China expansion plans first came-up in the early 1980's after several successful expansions in the South East Asian (SEA) region including Japan. Tony Wang who was born in China, educated in Taiwan and in the USA, and now living in Singapore was appointed manager for KFC's SEA region. He was given the autonomous responsibility to further investigate the feasibility to further expanding KFC's operations in Asia to the world's most populous nation and the largest market for consumer goods- China. On the other side of the scale, expanding into China would certainly be KFC's most risky international business strategy so far. Moreover, a "go-ahead" signal would make KFC the first western fast-food chain in China. RECOMMENDATIONS.
An expansion into China is recommended. The potential size and growth of the market in association with improving political stability makes the Chinese market very attractive. As KFC has been able to successfully expand into the Pacific Basin, and its popularity in the region (large portion of the population is Chinese), the people in China will most certainly find KFC's products attractive. In addition, the ready access of quality poultry in the major metropolitan areas and host government emphasis on modernization of this industry can ensure a reliable supply of supplies. Opposite to this, potential competitors such as MacDonald's face major barriers to enter the market due to poor beef supply. Moreover, the Chinese government has opened-up access to its markets. MARKET ENTRY OPTIONS
There are three market entry strategies that can be employed: (refer appendix 1) 1.
Wholly owned subsidiary
First, KFC's traditional franchising strategy, which is emphasizing standardization and reducing financial risk, on the expense of cultural sensitivity and control. Due to China's strict foreign investment laws such a strategy is not feasible. In addition, KFC will be...
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