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Talking with Tony, KFC Global CEO

KFCOur PeopleChris F.October 29, 2020

Leading a business with over 24,000 restaurants across 145+ countries is no small feat, but our Chief Executive Officer, Tony Lowings, has been up to the challenge since 2019. Read on to learn more about Tony, KFC and what the future holds for KFC fans around the world.

Tony - Resized
Tony Lowings

Where do you envision KFC will be in 2025, and how do you plan on driving the business to get there?

KFC has the wonderful ability to bring joy to people from all walks of life, and our goal is to provide delicious, craveable food to as many people as possible. By the end of 2025 we plan to have grown our restaurant base and global sales considerably. To get there, that means building more restaurants and evolving the way we cater to our customers’ needs and expectations, including the ability to expand our access points and meet them wherever they are. By 2025, we’ll certainly continue to see innovation within our traditional touchpoints like dine-in, take-out, and drive-thru, but I also envision us investing more strongly in new access points like kiosks, home-delivery, order-ahead, curbside pick-up and other technology-driven solutions that meet the demands of the new world.

kfc-world-famous-chicken

With KFC's significant growth plans, what does this mean for employees?

Operating more restaurants also means growing our KFC family, both in number and their leadership abilities. By 2025, we expect to have well over 1 million people as a part of our global team with a goal to help each and every one of them reach their full potential. 

To create great leaders, KFC offers our people a variety of training and growth tools to help unlock their potential. One that I am particularly excited about is Heartstyles, which our parent company, Yum! Brands, acquired earlier this year. Heartstyles is a world-class leadership development program that helps create strong, vulnerable, caring leaders who in turn enable their teams to perform at their best. Where we have good leaders, we have a good business…whether that’s a great RGM leading their KFC restaurant team, or a General Manager heading up one of our Business Units.

Now that Yum! owns Heartstyles, we can dedicate more resources and effort to making the Heartstyles concept available to all of the KFC Global family, creating outstanding leaders in our business around the world.

What advice would you give to KFC team members around the globe? 

KFC is a growth company with lots of opportunities. Know that you control your destiny. The most important thing a team member can do is take responsibility for what you can control - be curious, learn as much as possible and do whatever job you are currently in as brilliantly as you can. It is important to be ambitious and imagine what the future can hold for you. I recommend striking a balance between focusing on excelling in your current role, and thinking about “what’s next”.

It’s also important to lift others up. Our top executives are awesome at caring for their team and helping them become successful. The more you can help others flourish, the more likely you are to be successful as a leader. This applies to everyone regardless if it’s your first day working in a KFC restaurant or you’re a long-time brand ambassador like myself. 

You’ve been on the KFC team for more than 25 years. What motivates you to make KFC more R.E.D. (Relevant, Easy and Distinctive)? 

To be quite transparent, I am far more interested in helping create an environment where every employee can grow and thrive and be their best selves - that’s what motivates me to leap out of bed every day. It just so happens that the best way we can ensure that KFC continues to grow and be more successful while creating those opportunities for employees, is to make KFC more R.E.D. 

KFC is intertwined with the communities in which we operate – we are a real, honest brand that must stay true to what KFC consumers desire, which means being relevant. It entails keeping up with the times, staying contemporary and understanding what captures people’s imagination.

We also know that our customers lead busy lives and have plenty of food options. That’s why it’s important for KFC to be accessible and easy. Doing so presents a strategic challenge (e.g. growing digital) and a day-to-day one (e.g. speed on drive-thru), which makes for an incredibly dynamic and exciting business.

Finally, we have more than 70 years of history, the heritage (Colonel Sanders), the uniqueness (our secret recipe) and the distinctiveness that makes KFC Always Original. 

At the end of the day, no matter where you’re at in the world, when you think of KFC, it should be about finger lickin’ good food, done the right way…in the spirit of the Colonel.

KFC has plenty of craveable menu items. What’s your favorite and why? 

 It is tough to choose. It’s like picking a favorite child!  After all, we are the original fried chicken experts.

There are so many choices: KFC’s Popcorn Chicken, Kentucky Fried Wings, KFC Twisters, the list goes on. And I have to say that I just love, love, love the Original Recipe® Chicken.

However, my favorite is the Zinger Burger – the beautiful crunch of the outer coating, delicious juiciness of the marinated fillet, finished with the perfect hot-n-spicy flavor!

Zinger Sandwich

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