- KBP Brands, a major KFC franchisee, is launching an SMS program at 847 KFCs in 28 states, giving the operator the ability to text deals and promotions to its customers, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- KBP describes the consumer engagement tool, part of a partnership with Vibes, as an SMS and mobile wallet digital marketing program.
- The franchisee tested the program at 162 restaurants in five states, yielding 30% month-over-month subscriber growth that was based primarily on word of mouth.
The systemwide rollout was intended to enhance regional marketing initiatives, and the texting program offers solid ROI, KBP wrote.
The tool gives KBP the ability to “[send] targeted messages to local audiences based on menu preferences, pricing tier, demographics, and competitive factors.” Those messages aren’t limited to promotions, according to the press release, but include updates on store hours, menu tests and LTOs. KBP anticipates that the tool will increase repeat visits.
KBP first tested the offering in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Arkansas and Oklahoma, the company said, with the pilot running from Dec. 1 to March 31. Following the success of those tests, KBP decided to debut the tool nationwide, which it did on April 3, the company said in an email to Restaurant Dive.
The company said Kentucky Fried Chicken has approved the use of the KFC logo and of KBP’s mention of KFC in promotions within the program. The SMS program, while not a proper loyalty program, is a major effort by an individual franchisee to use digital technology to capture sales. KBP’s scale makes this a significant development as the company operates about one-fifth of KFC’s U.S. stores. Direct outreach to customers and greater digital engagement could help boost KFC’s U.S. sales, which were flat last year, according to the company’s fourth quarter results.