SHANGHAI, China — Yum China Holdings, Inc. continues to enhance the customer experience through the use of innovative and digital technologies across its brands. In 2020, the Company was among the first to pilot self-driving cars and smart meal lockers. In addition, interactive technologies have been introduced to enhance the dining experience, including the newly upgraded “KFC Super Dessert Station” and immersive restaurants.
“Against the unprecedented backdrop of COVID-19, the need for rapid innovation in our industry has never been greater. Customer preferences are constantly evolving, and new technologies are transforming the way we interact with our stakeholders,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. “We will continue to explore and roll out new and exciting innovations to better serve our customers and communities and drive sustainable growth.”
Yum China: Pizza Hut and KFC Self-Driving Cars
In November 2020, Pizza Hut and KFC piloted a fleet of self-driving cars on the streets of Shanghai. Consumers were able to view breakfast options via a transparent display window and order through their mobile phones by scanning a QR code. After payment, the door of the car will automatically open and the order can be taken away by the customer. Meanwhile, to maintain meal quality standards, the car is equipped with proper insulation to ensure products are kept at the appropriate temperature. Additionally, the car supports sales by intelligently selecting its location based on data such as crowd density and customer order patterns. For example, during breakfast hours the car may locate itself near a subway station to capture commuter traffic, before moving to an office park during lunch. The mix of products available is also adjusted according to the time of day.
Smart Lockers Bolster Contactless Options
Early in 2020, KFC piloted smart lockers at select restaurants in Shanghai and Hangzhou, allowing customers to quickly collect their takeaway orders using their mobile phones. The smart lockers reduce the need for human contact and waiting lines, strengthening social distancing during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Outside its restaurants, KFC has set up smart lockers at busy locations such as office buildings.
Fully Automated “KFC Super Dessert Station”
Desserts remain an important growth area for Yum China. In 2020, KFC’s fully automated dessert station was upgraded to offer customers a more enjoyable and unique DIY experience. In the upgraded version of KFC’s unmanned dessert station, the “KFC Super Dessert Station”, customers need only scan a QR code to order and select preferred toppings, after which a robotic arm will prepare the ice cream and hand it to them. As of November 2020, the newly upgraded “KFC Super Dessert Station” is available at select stores in 7 cities.
Yum China: Creating an Immersive and Engaging Dining Experience
KFC has introduced motion-sensing technology to bring an immersive and highly entertaining virtual experience to play areas. An ultra-clear and large screen is installed in the play area, together with a fitness game “KFC Happy Farm”, capturing children’s movement in real time. It offers children an enjoyable and interactive game experience, while providing an opportunity for them to exercise and be active.
Additionally, Pizza Hut has introduced 5D immersive designs in some restaurants. In a recent collaboration to support the promotion of local cultural heritage, Pizza Hut displayed a 5D animation of Qiang embroidery patterns in select restaurants. Using multi-sensory technology, including visual projections and surround sound, Pizza Hut transformed the dining experience of participating restaurants, giving the look and feel of a museum.
In the process of constantly upgrading the overall customer experience, Yum China seamlessly combines aspects of food, technology and culture. The Company’s relentless commitment to innovation is a major force behind its growth strategy, and a powerful digital ecosystem integrating online platforms with offline stores, is key to enhancing the customer experience with more fun and convenience.