“At Collins, we have an obsession for raising the bar of what a restaurant experience can be, both for our people and for customers, and I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved in store,” Collins Foods’ chief operating officer for KFC Australia Helen Moore told Inside Retail.
“There are many elements in this store that we’ll be bringing to future sites as we roll out more across the nation.”
Currently, Collins Foods has plans for up to 12 new KFC stores this financial year, as well as a further four Taco Bell stores.
The business recently declared it is targeting a 25 per cent reduction in its carbon emissions and a 25 per cent increase in the amount of waste it diverts from landfill by 2026. And while creating its Queens Street Mall store, the business took suggestions from its staff as to how they could create a more sustainable flagship.
“There were a lot of elements we wanted to bring to life, and a lot of the ideas came from the team,” Moore said.
“We saw a lot around eco-friendly practices, things like water and energy efficiency. The other fantastic idea that came up for this store, which was from one of our employees, was that it would be amazing to offset carbon emissions by planting a tree for each new employee that joins this store.
“So we did it, and we’ve actually ended up doing it for every new employee across the whole of Collins Food this year, and it’s something we plan on continuing to do moving forward.”
Learning from the pandemic
The last few years have been educational for retailers in many ways, but for Collins Foods in particular, the pandemic taught the business to put its people first.
“We’ve focussed on looking out for our people, and our customers, as best we can,” Moore said.
“A particular moment that hits home for me was during the floods last year. It was amazing to see how many individual heroes came out of that situation, whether it was making sure food was delivered, helping at rescue shelters, or even restaurant managers relocating across floodwaters for a few weeks to make sure their store could stay open [to feed people].”
Additionally, with the constant impact on customer traffic and supply chains the last few years has brought, Collins Foods is now intensely focused on its operational efficiency.
“We had to handle volumes [of customers] that were much higher than normal, so there was a lot of innovation happening at the restaurant level,” Moore said.
“So now, we’re really trying to work out how to better handle those volumes [at the group level].
“I think the other big change the industry has seen has been the adoption of technology and the growth in particular of the delivery channel. We really have to think differently about how we deploy both equipment and teams in restaurants to manage those channels well.”
Collins Foods’ Australian operations were strong last year, having grown 11 per cent to deliver sales of almost $1.2 billion.
The business’ managing director and CEO Drew O’Malley said Australia is home to one of the most mature KFC businesses in the world, and that it has been getting stronger each year.
“We continue to innovate our restaurants and customer experience to support evolving dining trends that cater to a convenience-based, mobile lifestyle,” O’Malley said.
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