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KFC Play Braam concept store: the first of its kind in Africa and the first innovation hub for the KFC brand globally

31 January 2024

31 January 2024 marks the opening of a ground-breaking KFC concept store in Johannesburg's renowned Play Braamfontein precinct, KFC’s latest move to remain at the forefront of innovation and connected with the consumer of today and tomorrow. KFC Play Braam at 73 Juta Street will serve as both a unique retail space and an innovation hub for the brand. It will pioneer new concepts in real time and innovate in all areas: food, fashion, customer service, team member experience, tech, operations, development, sustainability and design.

“It’s about revolutionising the speed and agility with which we continue to adapt to our consumers’ ever-changing needs, evolving our brand to meet our consumers where they are, says KFC Chief Marketing Officer Grant Macpherson. “We’re the largest quick-service restaurant brand on the continent with the youngest population in the world, so the onus is on us not only to remain at the forefront of food and retail trends but to lead them. KFC at Play Braam is about never-before-tasted flavours and never-before-seen fashion, digital experiences and gaming. This is the new original.”

Innovative flavours and a digital first

The concept store has an exclusive new menu featuring the likes of Cola Dunked Wings, the Chilli Lime Burger, Hot and Spicy Chachos (like nachos) and a variety of new Krushers, including the Pineapple Mojito Sparkling Krusher. KFC’s signature Colonel and Zinger bottled sauces are available for purchase so fans can take home a bottle of their favourites.

The menu, featuring 100% digital graphics and display content, is the star of a show that also includes cashless digital kiosks with ordering in 11 official languages and unlimited Wi-Fi and internet access. South Africa’s first crowdsourced playlist on Spotify allows customers to contribute song suggestions and personalise their in-restaurant experience.

Customers can digitally try on exclusive merchandise from a collab range with award-winning local designer Mzukisi Mbane of Imprint ZA and compete in a custom KFC virtual reality (VR) gaming experience on a live leaderboard for KFC vouchers.

“It’s where innovation and tech meet food, fashion and gaming to create an unparalleled customer experience,” says Macpherson. “It’s The Original you love but deliciously different. It’s a concept store that not only bends the rules of finger lickin’ good but brings the same energy to the freshest collabs and reality-changing VR experiences.”

Revolutionising restaurant design

More seating is available than in KFC’s standard restaurant formats so customers can linger longer as they feast on their finger lickin’ favourites. Another first: the open kitchen invites customers to witness the preparation of freshly made products.

The KFC Play Braam team has been intentional about creating a space that combines cutting-edge technology and youth-centred KFC team members. With Lobby Hosts and table service, the concept store has enabled KFC team members to turn their focus from fulfilling orders to facilitating a superior dining experience by directly engaging with customers. KFC team members will also have soundproof charge-up areas and digital comms platforms, as well as a separate delivery and pickup zone. All of this will help ensure we land an outstanding team member and customer experience.

“At KFC we are obsessed with providing an unparalleled dining experience and all innovation is in pursuit of that promise to our customers,” says Macpherson. “Innovation is about being brave enough to push the boundaries, test new concepts and getting real-time feedback. It’s also about having the agility to cater to new ordering behaviors and constantly questioning how and why we do the things we do. It’s not only about meeting our customers where they are, but about bringing them new and exciting experiences, tastes and collaborations, and of course pushing the envelope in terms of our flavours.”