Kentucky Fried Chicken: How QR Codes and a Pub Drove an 85% Lift in App Installs






uplift in installs


QR code scans in first 3 days

KFC’s story

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the leading global fried chicken restaurant brand, has a rich, decades-long history of success and innovation when it comes to tasty chicken. And it all started with one cook, Colonel Harland Sanders. 

After a series of setbacks in different jobs, Colonel Sanders set up his first KFC franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1952. From there, Colonel Sanders experienced great success selling his fried chicken and continued to spread his original recipe goodness across the world! The first UK KFC restaurant opened in May of 1965 in Preston, Lancashire. By 2023, KFC had 999 locations across the UK with the vast majority in England.

The challenge

Home delivery is an increasingly popular option for people who value convenience and speed when ordering their food. This is a fast-growing channel in the UK, with revenue expected to grow over 10% annually. Mobile phones provide the easiest and most seamless way for customers to order their food for home delivery, and KFC wants their app to be part of this growth. But how do you announce to the world that your favorite takeout chicken restaurant is delivering to your doorstep? 

The KFC team realized that their challenge would be driving awareness and adoption of their mobile app and online delivery service. So they began brainstorming ways to achieve this. As an innovator in the space, they knew they needed a concept that differed from the competition and captured the imagination of the British public.

KFC’s pub takeover campaign

KFC wanted to create a campaign that highlighted the launch of its new UK delivery service. This campaign would need to promote the new service in a cost-effective way and drive awareness across its loyal UK fans. 

A unique PR campaign was conceived. It ran from November 10-17, 2022, to promote the beginning of the World Cup and — more importantly — the launch of KFC Delivery! 

The team at KFC came up with an innovative pop-up pub-takeover concept in London where people could enjoy the Colonel’s secret chicken recipe in the comfort of a pub. The pub concept, called “The Colonel’s Arms,” combined a trio of pub lovers’ favorite things: football, pubs, and finger-lickin’ fried chicken! But it was only going to be around for one week and then gone forever.

Photograph of the outside of The Colonel's Arms pub. KFC promotions are displayed in the window, including a sign that reads, "Hello London, chicken is coming home."

Given the UK love affair with the great British pub, great sport, and great food, this was a clever campaign that drew people into a familiar environment and showcased KFC’s new product. Once the London pub takeover was complete, KFC applied their instantly recognizable KFC branding to the interior along with branded pint glasses and QR codes across different objects and signage within the space. This is where Branch came in.

Photograph of a beer next to a napkin holder that has a KFC app QR code displayed on it.

Branch-powered QR codes drove increased app engagement and installs

The Branch platform powered the links behind KFC’s QR codes, which gave customers a seamless way to install and interact with the KFC mobile app. 

For users without the app, the QR code took them to the app store first. Then, after install, they were brought directly to the relevant content in the app for a more personalized food delivery experience. Instead of their favorite chicken dishes being delivered to their home, chicken was speedily dished out and delivered to their tables. This gave users a glimpse into the convenience and speed of using the new KFC app for home delivery. 

KFC’s main goal for this campaign was app adoption and awareness of the new home delivery feature. To achieve this, KFC used QR codes everywhere in the pub, from the front door to menus at the bar. They even printed them on the bathroom mirrors!

Side by side images of QR codes displayed inside the pub. Image 1: "Scan for delivery" written on a bathroom mirror. Image 2: QR code displayed on a napkin holder.

Thanks to the Branch platform, KFC powered the links, tracked and measured the performance of their QR code pop-up pub campaign, and pulled insights from its performance. By using Branch QR codes, the team was able to analyze installs and in-app conversions directly in the Branch dashboard. 

The results

The KFC QR code campaign launched from a pop-up pub was such a success that major UK newspapers picked up on its uniqueness and innovation. Influential publications like Business Insider also wrote about the pub, generating free publicity and awareness for the campaign and KFC’s new delivery service. At time of publication, there were 3,740 mentions of the campaign in Google search results.

KFC saw an 85% uplift in installs along with over 1,000 scans and opens in the first few days — the strongest results KFC has ever experienced with QR codes. Fast online home delivery via the KFC app is now integral to the KFC app experience in the UK.

KFC (together with Branch) created unique, KFC-branded QR codes for users to interact with in the pub. These QR codes drove increased app engagement and led to the beginning of a successful delivery service for KFC. 

Image of a person's hands holding an iPhone with the KFC app displayed on screen.

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