KFC opens its door to Myanmar


Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

KFC will officially open its doors to Myanmar on 7 July with its first restaurant across from Bogyoke Aung San Market, but will begin serving the internationally acclaimed fried chicken to the country’s blossoming middle class on June 30.

Arrival of the fast food chain came in October 2014 with investor company Yoma Strategic bringing Yum! Foods into the country. Yum! Foods is the umbrella group of major international food companies such as ‘Pizza Hut’ and ‘Taco Bell’.

New to the menu is KFC’s curry box that was specially developed for Myanmar culture and taste, it is on the menu for 2,500MMK.

On the same day that the Myanmar government set the daily minimum wage at 3,600MMK, Managing Director of KFC and Chief Financial Officer of Yoma Strategic, JR Ching noted that prices were set for all people in Myanmar with the help of regional pricing such as Thailand.

JR Ching told reporters today that the fast food group is targeting the new tastes of Myanmar and focusing on “young adults and the young population of Myanmar,” with a strong clear message of unity as well.

“I think as you heard during my words earlier we’re trying to make KFC available to all of Myanmar it’s not for a specific customer segment, it’s not for a specific social economic background or group it’s not for any specific ethnicity. 

So the theme of unity really was trying to draw all those pieces together to say ‘KFC is actually a part of Myanmar,’” Mr Ching told Mizzima.

Yoma Strategic who is behind KFC’s move to Myanmar has an intention to bring not only fast food groups to Myanmar but also retail, Mr Ching said;

“Yoma has clearly invested a lot in this KFC business we view it as part of our broader consumer platform, [the] consumer platform includes food and beverage, it includes retail and it includes FFCG (Fast Food and Consumer Goods) so we do have plans to look at other opportunities in the broader consumer space, including food and beverage.”

The preexisting fast food market is looking at a shakeup now that international groups are making a move into Myanmar where local companies haven’t made much of a scene. 

Korea’s ‘Lotteria’ and Thailand’s ‘Pizza Company’ have been running the market for some time now, yet Mr Ching has faith that KFC will take off as it is a ‘strong brand’ and that he is confident that KFC will be able to ‘compete with incoming players and those who are already here.’

The KFC brand has come under fire in the past with allegations of using tainted meat in their Chinese products, in the UK the Guardian released a report in July 2014 that showed the horrors of the UK’s poultry market that was supplying KFC and many other groups.

But Mr Ching stressed today that the chicken supplied to KFC in Myanmar is delivered fresh every day,

“The chicken, again, is locally sourced the farms are in the lower part of the Myanmar region,”

When asked if the areas of the farms were in the Ayeyarwaddy Region and Yangon Region Mr Ching said that was “correct.”

Like all new foreign additions to Myanmar KFC will be sporting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program that Mr Ching said would be in line with Yoma Strategic’s CSR policies and practices, but no details could be disclosed today.

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