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KFC gets into gear for home-delivery service

KFC last week started trials of a home-delivery service as part of a strategy to increase its share of the UK fast food market.

The trials started in four north London outlets, as a prelude to introducing the service into half the stores nationwide.

Peter Hearl, KFC’s vice-president for the UK, Ireland and West Europe, told Caterer home delivery had increased sales by between 20% and 25% in the 70 countries in which it had been introduced so far.

The service is to be available until 10pm, seven days a week, within a radius of about 1.5 miles from the stores. A minimum order of £5 will operate, while £1 will be charged for delivery.

The service is one of a number of initiatives KFC is introducing, with trials of a rice, pasta and salad buffet being carried out at a Birmingham store.

Mr Hearl also said the company had been involved in talks with contract caterers and motorway service operators with a view to setting up franchise agreements.

KFC currently has no stores in Wales and only one in Scotland, where Mr Hearl hopes to see nine open in the next 12 months. His overall strategy is to raise the total number of UK and Ireland outlets from the present 324 to around 1,000 by the year 2000.

Meanwhile, a further seven fast food brands have been contacted by KFC in its bid to protect its brand name, with at least 12 more earmarked to be contacted in future.

The brands involve various permutations of the KFC initials and include AFC, DFC, MFC, RFC, SFC and even a KFC with no connection to the original brand.

The move follows an out-of-court settlement in which Tennessee Fried Chicken guaranteed to ensure none of its franchisees would “pass off” the KFC brand (Caterer, 21 April).

“At the moment we’re concentrating on the London area but we’re discovering more and more outlets by the day who we need to get in touch with,” said Kip Knight, KFC’s marketing director.

The situation has been confused by the fact thatdifferent operators use similar names. KFC has already contacted a north London outlet of RFC – shortened from Roosters Fried Chicken – but has since discovereda second user of the abbreviation, Rangers Fried Chicken.

The operator of a DFC Express outlet in London has suffered on two fronts. According to Mr Knight, the operator, who was out of the country as Caterer went to press, has been forced to remove all its DFC signage by 7 May.

Meanwhile, Abid Mahmood, managing director of the 38-strong Dixies Fried Chicken chain, said he had cancelled the former franchisee’s licence as soon as he had discovered the name change three months ago.

“We want to promote our own brand name, not something that looks like KFC’s,” Mr Mahmood said.

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