Premier Retail



KFC – New concept is streets ahead


A new concept for KFC, implemented in Carmarthenshire, has been nominated for a Retail Week Interior Award. Designed by the agency I-AM, the team there worked with KFC’s in house design team over the course of a year to upgrade the customer experience and dial up the core positioning ‘Always Original’.

KFC’s relationship with I-AM started with a highly directional brief for a small-footprint metropolitan concept, now open in Newcastle.  As I-AM worked on this, KFC added a brief for an upgrade to the standard restaurant design, to be trialled at the Carmarthenshire site.

The result is two complementary new formats that strip back the KFC design in celebration of the brand’s long-standing reputation for authentic, freshly prepared good food that brings people together. I-AM Group Partner and Strategy Director Pete Champion told Premier Retail:

“The initial brief was to create a new retail format that would be more urban, a smaller footprint and to be located in busy city locations and travel hubs. A typical core KFC unit will usually have a drive-thru wrapped around it and you’ll tend to find them slightly further out of city centres, whereas the requirement here was for a city-centre concept more akin to the kind of ‘fast casual’ experience we’d been creating for a range of food concepts in London.

“The strategy and positioning work we led with the KFC team, informed a creative exploration of potential personality expressions before the chosen route was refined and visualised. The resulting  stripped-back feel, infused with the energy of fresh prep and cooking, was then seen as a direction that could augment the larger core restaurant formats, leading in turn to an add-on brief that resulted in the Carmarthenshire site.

“In terms of visual palette, in the urban concept concrete and plywood sit together with textural tongue & groove paneling and bold new graphics, as well as a mix of unusual ceramic and timber flooring.  Lighting and dressing introduce more character being inspired by a farmyard/chicken house theme, which extends to exposed timber rafters (with wire chickens perching!).

Originally founded in London as First Partnership in 1996 and re-named I-AM in 2006, the Brand Experience Design agency now has additional studios in Istanbul, Dubai and Mumbai. With a varied portfolio of well-known retail experience projects, I-AM started their relationship with KFC at the end of 2014, starting work on the brief in January 2015.

Pete added:

“For Carmarthenshire, this theme delivered an evolution of the latest core store experience successfully received the year before in Bracknell. The light and dark wood tones are applied to counter fronts, which together with simple signage helps customers intuitively understand and navigate the order/collect system, and a suite of new dining furniture and I-AM created & art-directed graphic pieces project cues of freshness, and the joy of coming together over a KFC!”

Recognition has come quickly with the Retail Week Interior Awards, something Pete is proud of.

“It’s satisfying for us to know that our work is being recognised by the respected Retail Week magazine. It means a lot to the team that has worked on these projects.”

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