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KFC’s Marketing Mix Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Apr 28, 2023 | 0 comments

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Apr 28, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


KFC Corporation is the most popular restaurant chain for chicken globally and is located in Louisville, Kentucky. KFC Corporation specializes in Colonel crispy, extra crispy, original recipe chicken with home-side styles and five new sandwiches freshly made. According to KFC (2015), nearly eight million clients get served every day globally. The original recipe chicken forms the menu for KFC everywhere, and it is prepared with the matching taste that was created over five decades ago by Colonel Harland Sanders. Moreover, customers globally enjoy 300 other different products, from Japans salmon sandwiches to United States Chunky Chicken Pot Pie. KFC (2015) pointed out that KFC corporations continue to enhance their home delivery services in the United States to more than 300 restaurants and other countries.

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Similarly, KFC is collaborating with other restaurants in I united states, such as Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. “Home meal replacement” was also invented by Colonel Sanders half a century ago to sell complete meals to time-strapped harried families, and was called “Sunday Dinner, Seven days a Week.” This report will undertake a situational and environmental analysis of KFC using appropriate analytical frameworks and highlight major issues to the company. These analytical frameworks include the SWOT matrix, PESTLE, and PORTERs. Besides, the report will identify and justify two challenges based on the organization’s analysis. Lastly, the essay will discuss these challenges’ implications for the organization and how marketing mix elements can be used in addressing them.

1. The SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an abbreviation for a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is a good analytical tool for understanding different kinds of KFC’s decision-making. David (2012) illustrated that the report employed a SWOT analysis framework to review KFC’s direction, position, and strategy.

Strengths Weakness
  • High level of hygiene
  • Qualified staff and management
  • Menu variety and chains for its convenience
  • Interactive relationship marketing
  • Stronger franchise globally
  • The secret recipe of eleven spices and herbs
  • Brand equity
  • Missing products
  • Lack of strong efforts in marketing
  • Wastage of food
  • High employee turnover
  • It does not blend well with the culture of the locals, unlike its competitors like McDonald’s
  • Unhealthy food menu
  • Focus only on the high-income level customers
  • Negative publicity
  • Lack of knowledge of their clients
  • Untrustworthy suppliers
  • Lack of research and development focus
Opportunities Threats
  • High competition both in its local and international outlets
  • Increase in demand for home meal delivery service
  • Changing tastes and lifestyles of customers
  • Expanding and gaining access to global markets
  • Updating its balance menu and restaurants
  • Global scare on beef from mouth, hoof, and mad cow diseases, as well as cancer
  • Readily available market for home meal replacement
  • Demographic growth of 18-24 age groups
  • High competition from new and existing competitors
  • The unforeseen future economic recession can decrease the customers buying power
  • Cultural threats, especially from the Islamic countries
  • Change of the demands of the customers
  • Lawsuits against KFC
  • Frozen foods are not good for health; however much they maintain their standards
  • Bird flu

2. The PESTLE framework

Several factors affect a company’s decision-making in a macro environment. These factors can be overcome and analyzed by categorizing them into a PESTLE model. The PESTLE analysis is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal and Environmental and is used in identifying the external factors or the macro environment of KFC (Klotter 2010).

Political factors

These factors deal with the government’s procedures, and policies worked out through the country’s legislation. Furthermore, it comprises all the political factors such as a stable political environment. it also encompasses the position of the government on the market ethics, the policy of the government of economy, the view of the government on religion and culture, and lastly, the taxation policy on incentives and tax rates (David 2012).

To a large extent, political factors define informal and formal rules under which a company must operate. Any organization’s operations are influenced by the enforced policies of individual state governments, and KFC is not exceptional. For instance, some groups in the United States and Europe protest against their governments concerning the health implications of fast food consumption. They claim that fast foods lead to obesity due to cholesterol. Moreover, other political factors include employment laws, tax laws, and other trade restrictions. David (2012) indicated that tax rates could affect the KFC growth rate.

Economic factors

KFC has a global presence and is hence affected by exchange rates and changes in inflation. According to Llanas (2015), economic factors also determine the demand and supply relationship of the organization’s raw materials.

Global and national economic factors affect KFC Corporation, such as unemployment rates, business cycle stages such as recovery and recession, economic growth rates, inflation rates, interest rates, and cost of labor. The global recession affected KFC’s income, which dropped its income, consequently laying off many employees. Similarly, the company had to operate on a reduced budget (Llanas 2015).

Social factors

These include demographic and cultural aspects of the KFC’s macro environment. The ability of KFC to accommodate and enable people from different social and cultural backgrounds to work together is great. Moreover, KFC has to consider customer trends and needs, such as changes in consumer needs, demographics such as race, sex, age, value in society, education level, and lifestyle changes (Allison-Lewis 2015).

KFC faces challenges in understanding international countries’ cultures where they operate. To solve the issue, they hire local citizens as their employees to understand the culture of the host countries.

Technological factors

According to Ozersky (2012), technological factors are a company’s major globalization drivers and boost efficiency in the production and delivery of services. Some technological developments KFC has embraced include communication, research, marketing, customer services, cooking utensils, wireless headphones for employees, and digital screens. KFC’s customers are satisfied and delighted with the services due to the improved technology

KFC uses modern technology in its recipes and cooking to compete in the industry. Moreover, they were the first to introduce a new baking system to satisfy their clients. This means all baking, cooking, and all work involved in preparing food applies to technology.

Legal factors

There are many rules and regulations that KFC has to follow and maintain when operating in different states and countries. Some of these rules and regulations are associated with health, hygiene, and labor laws, such as proper training of their employees on the proper use of utensils, a clean environment at work, personal hygiene, and food and safety. Similarly, these legal factors deal with the environment that KFC operates in, like the minimum wage for employees, the minimum age for employment to prevent child labor, environmental conservation to avoid pollution, and the need for recycling waste (Supra 2013).BBC (2006) and Supra (2013) pointed out that KFC has received several high penalties for failing to maintain hygiene in their food.

Environmental factors

These factors ensure that the organization’s operations do not pollute the environment. By adhering to environmental factors, KFC’s operations have been friendly to the environment in all stages of their operations. For instance, Villas (2012) pointed out that KFC uses paper materials for carrying their products and packaging food rather than plastic materials, which has largely contributed to reducing global warming. Even though it is costly for the company to use paper materials in their cups, glasses, food parcels, paper boxes, and paper plates, KFC has maintained its course to environmental conservation

3. PORTER five forces model

This model is used in analyzing five competitive forces shaping every industry and is significant in determining the weaknesses and strengths of an industry (Kogan & National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009). This model assumes that five vital forces help in determining competitive power, and they include:

Supplier power: The supplier power of KFC also has low bargaining power. KFC has many suppliers that supply their raw materials, such as chicken, spices, and other products. Moreover, KFC collaboratively works with the suppliers to improve their technological advancements and, therefore, cannot work together to raise their prices against a partner who minds about their operations. David (2012) also pointed out that KFC subsidiaries in other foreign countries obtain their supplies locally and do not import them. Therefore, if international suppliers raise their prices, they can comfortably switch to local suppliers. This strategy employed by KFC created antagonism amongst suppliers, lowering their bargaining power.

Similarly, the labor cost is low on the labor supply because the supply of workers who are non-skilled both locally and internationally is high and exceeds the demand. With low supplier bargaining power, the company can control its expenditures and prices (David 2012).

Buyer power: The KFC customers predominantly are individual buyers and, therefore, have no bargaining power since an individual client boycotting KFC products cannot affect or lower the prices of KFC goods (Jia 2010).

Rivalry in competition: Contrary to expected, KFC has minimal rivalry in the fast food chains industry. This is because their primary products differ. After all, they sell fast foods of different kinds with different styles and tastes. Therefore, a price increase in chicken by KFC would not drive chicken clients to other alternative fast foods like fries or pizzas because they are different products. Similarly, restaurants in the fast food industries target different customers, that price fluctuation cannot affect other foods’ prices in other restaurants (David 2012; Osborne n.d).

The threat of substitution: KFC operates in a fast food industry that is highly competitive with many major competitors such as Subway, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Mcdonald’s (Yuanyuan et al. 2013). Therefore, KFC has many substitute products like sandwiches, pizza, and burgers. However, even though they are major competitors, their products greatly differ from one another since their sell fast foods that differ from KFC products. Moreover, United States families traditionally prefer meals cooked at home or bought from grocery stores, and these also pose as substitutes for fast foods. Moreover, home-cooked meal substitutes are regarded as healthy as fast foods. Other substitutes are also from street vendor foods (David 2012; Klotter & Klotter 2010).

The threat of new entry: For the current fast food market in the United States and globally, it is very easy for a restaurant serving fast food to enter. However, Llanas (2015) indicated that it would be difficult for the new entrant to make significant profits or take over the major dominant fast-food chains in the United States. Even though the United States has a large population for the survival of any fast food restaurant, KFC has a significant advantage, especially in the non-vegetable segment of foods like chicken, in addition to its brand and reputation. Patrons who are used to KFC servings would not prefer trying other new restaurants that are unknown.

Similarly, Yuanyuan et al. (2013) asserted that the brand name of KFC is already established. Besides, the United States already has a wide variety of fast food companies such as Domino, Mcdonald’s, Subway, and Pizza Hut, among others. Therefore, new entrants into the fast food industry would just be replicating what already exists in the market. Even though restaurants in small neighborhoods have low entry barriers, the above-highlighted entry barriers are similar and apply to them too.

Two challenges (positive or negative) that affect the KFC organization and their implications

1. Challenges in pricing

As a marketing factor, pricing is significant for KFC Corporation because it impacts its profits. Allison-Lewis (2015) indicated that setting the right prices brings sufficient for the company. However, KFC prices its products highly and maintains its goods’ prices compared to its competitors, who price their products at a lower price.

Similarly, KFC segmented prices for its customers using a segmented pricing strategy. For instance, KFC has used membership cards for a very long time for children. With these children’s membership cards, they get discounts when they purchase kids’ products from KFC. Additionally, the kids get special surprise presents when they register as members. These memberships do not apply to the adults who form most buyers.

Ozersky (2012) also pointed out that KFC company offers different time pricing. For example, from Monday to Frida in the afternoon, KFC has time for snacks with lowered prices. This encourages their clients to take tea

2. Challenges in communication

Another challenge faced by KFC is the challenges in their communication strategies, especially in advertising, sales promotion, and public relation. KFC currently advertises using radios, newspapers, and television, which are good for market reach but traditional. KFC mainly advertises using television during the commercial break for its promotions and meals. Similarly, the newspaper advertises new promotions and meals that sometimes offer discounts or free vouchers. Lastly, through radio, it persuades customers to come and dine in its restaurants (Stones 2013; KFC 2010).

KFC also utilizes sales promotion in promoting its new meals. This is done by providing free vouchers for discounted new foods from newspaper cuttings. Similarly, free vouchers promoted through newspapers are used for redeeming gifts.

In public relations, KFC sponsors television programs that enable the firm to capture a wider market, especially for children, by sponsoring cartoon programs. Additionally, KFC engages in many corporate social responsibilities like charities. They also employ staff who are hearing or speech impaired to assist them in building their self-esteem and confidence in their lives (Stones 2013; Siriya 2009).

How marketing mix elements might address them

The solution to pricing challenges

Using the marketing mix element of price, the pricing challenge that KFC can address is maintaining the current prices of their products. This is because price change will not be beneficial to the firm. After all, lowering the product prices might lead to the customers’ perceptions that the food quality has decreased, while highly charging the prices might make the customers shift to the competitors’ products like McDonald’s (Yuanyuan et al. 2013; Allison-Lewis 2010).

Similarly, instead of KFC only focusing on children, it can also come up with memberships for adults, especially older citizens. Older citizens, especially those above 40, are health conscious, especially in their diet; therefore, creating a membership group for this segment will attract many clients. Moreover, they can offer discounts or special prices for old registered customers. Villas (2012) suggested that when filling out the membership forms, their personal details information and preferred foods can be obtained. Eventually, they will get special food discounts when they order.

Another workable solution, according to the marketing mix, is to offer special discounted prices for their foods from midnight to 8.00 am daily because they operate 24 hours but at normal prices. This will encourage many clients to come past midnight to KFC, especially those who work night shifts (Liu 2008).

The solution to Challenges in communication

For the challenges in advertising, KFC should continue using the major traditional advertising strategies like the radio, newspaper, and television but also modern online advertisement methods like the internet. Using online marketing tools, KFC can advertise on its websites and other online platforms such as social media (Stones 2013).

To be highly competitive in the market, KFC should organize and sponsor more events for sales promotion like the sweepstakes; the lucky draws, among others. The firm will get the opportunity of attracting more customers to come to their restaurants to dine or take away food since many people tend to get attracted by sweepstakes and free lucky draws. Similarly, the free vouchers and coupons could be promoted online, unlike newspaper cuttings, to reach a wider population, especially those who use the internet frequently (Stones 2013).

Lastly, for public relations, KFC should endorse a celebrity or a singer famous for promoting their meals through sales promotions, advertisements, or singing concerts to get more publicity. This could be done by collaborating with famous and rising singing stars in the United States and foreign countries. Moreover, attendees to the singing concerts can be given half-price meals when they buy meals in KFC restaurants. Because customers like half-price incentives and discounts, KFC will eventually and successfully capture a wider market in the long run (Stones 2013).


In conclusion, KFC has been in operation for many decades and has expanded its operations to many countries. The report highlighted major issues for the company from the situational and environmental analysis of KFC using appropriate analytical frameworks such as the SWOT matrix, PESTLE framework, and PORTERs framework. Besides, the report identified and justified two challenges based on the analysis of the organization. The challenges identified and discussed included challenges with pricing and challenges with communication. The report discussed these challenges’ implications for the organization and how marketing mix elements can be used to address them.


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