In Focus
TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, China

Yum China aims to set the standard for customer experience with new innovation center in Shanghai

The nation's largest fast food company continues to see a "huge space" for growth.

Yum China, which operates the KFC and Pizza Hut brands, has as opened an innovation center in downtown Shanghai.

Covering an area of 27,000 square feet, the center is an integrated research and development facility designed to generate new ideas and concepts and enable the rapid roll out of localized and innovative products.

State of the art facilities featured in the center include a test kitchen, a sensory test area, as well as a suite of labs covering quality assurance, equipment and restaurant technology testing, packaging innovation, new store model prototypes, and content production.

Yum China says the new innovation center is a space "to engage, connect, and collaborate to create products and solutions that are at the forefront of industry trends", noting that it launches more than 300 new and upgraded products on average every year across all of its brands.

Customers take part in sensory tests at Yum China's Innovation Center.

"We have been in China for over 30 years and have continued to evolve and grow with new generations of customers thanks to our relentless focus on innovation and staying close to changing customer preferences," Yum China CEO Joey Wat said.

"The establishment of the Innovation Center is testament to our commitment and vision to become the world's most innovative pioneer in the restaurant industry. Through creating an integrated hub, we look forward to continuing to explore innovative ways to drive growth, deliver value, and enhance every aspect of the customer experience."

In an interview with Bloomberg, Wat said the company sees more growth opportunties in the country.

“We are in 1,200 cities in China, which seems like a lot, but there’s another thousand cities in China with no KFC. There’s huge space for growth,” Wat explained.

In the long term, Wat said the company sees potential for more than 20,000 outlets in the nation as it continues to push into less-developed cities beyond the crowded metropolises in Shanghai and Beijing.

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