KFC has said that the feedback on its new design has been “overwhelmingly positive”, leading to an uplift in sales.

David Timm, vice-president of marketing at KFC, also told M&C Report the brand would launch a new version of its exterior design in October and that the group was seeing a significant uptick in terms of coffee sales.

Timm also spoke about the brand’s move into offering breakfasts and the challenges and opportunities the brand is set to face going forward.

On the new interior look launched last year in Bracknell, Timms said: “Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We did some research where we used some pretty modern techniques to measure the response to the old design and the change to the new look. We saw a significant improvement in everything we measured. The anecdotal feeling that we had for the new look was certainly played out in the feedback we got from the research, which is very encouraging.

“More encouraging is that we have seen a lift in sales there. It is always hard to quantify the cause and effect because there are so many working parts in the business. What’s happened post the change is that we have seen an increase in sales. We have also seen a shift in a percentage of business that goes through the drive-thru versus dine in. Again it is hard to determine what that means, whether that is new consumers using the dine-in or existing consumers swapping from one to the other.

“Everything has been positively received, including people’s personal feeling as they walk into the store. The rollout of the new look has already started. As we refresh stores and build new ones this becomes the standard design format.”

Timm said that the recent launch of Seattle’s Best Coffee had led to an immediate uptick in sales. He said: “It is doing really well and there is a significant upside for us. It has allowed us to get into new day parts and given people another excuse to visit us.”

In terms of breakfast, Timm said the company was still testing the offer in a few sites in the Manchester area and a handful dotted around the country. “The test is an ongoing process,” he said. “We need to be confident in what we are doing before pushing the button on it.”

On the challenges facing the c900-strong brand, Timm said: “The market moves so quickly so staying relevant in this marketplace is our greatest challenge. The competitive environment changes overnight and the way consumers are interacting with everything is changing. Where you are a big brand with fixed real estate, the ability to change is very challenging. We have c900 stores that we have to need to keep fun and contemporary

“The opportunity is that if we are able to do that better than our competitors and more quickly then we will gain market share. We have also got a real strength because we are a brand with a history and a heritage. The fact that it is our 50th anniversary this year has given us a great opportunity to tell that story to our consumers.”