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Corporate Social Responsibility of KFC

1. Introduction

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants, serving more than 12 million customers daily in 109 countries and territories around the world. KFC is part of multi-brand operator Yum, the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants, which own more than 36,000 locations around the world (kfc.com, 2010). My time at KFC was in a position of casher and then I got promotion as a restaurant team leader, overseeing the daily shop operations as well as selling product. This offers me an excellent opportunity to observe the organization and staff behaviour at KFC.

This work is divided into four parts. Beginning with the definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the business pay attention on social responsibility. And then it explores the social responsibility of KFC, corresponding with the four dimensions, as following: KFC, as a sponsor, offer some charities to local communities; KFC takes environmental protection and recycling issues; KFC try to build good brand image by focusing on the animal conservation; KFC has established the supplier code of conduct for the suppliers. Next, this paper would present information on that company pay more attention on food production and processing. In the end of this report, the author would list that during the placement what skills have developed.

2. Defining of Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a welcomed business strategy, which is widely expected of business and can benefit both the business and the stakeholders of the company. Moreover, CSR is increasingly important and common which illuminates it is necessary to change social aspects about responsibility in companies. It is a trend that organizations pay more attention on every aspect of their performance than before, for example, they are not only considering about the economic interest but also caring the social commentary and environmental protection. Openness and transparency become the key slogan for organizations (Elkington, 1997; cited Jacqueline,C., 2005). More and more organizations recognize the important of social responsibility and they are trying to practice these concepts. The authors prefer the use of the term corporate social responsibility and present the following definition. Corporate social responsibility is a committal that made by the company to contribute to the society through the business practices and combining the corporate resources, that may includes improving the quality of life of humans and focusing on the environmental issues (Philip,K and Nancy,L, 2005).

3. Social responsibility of KFC

The CSR section of KFC’s web site commits the company to ‘how we make life better’, focusing on community support for local high schools and celebrate World Hunger Relief Week. The web site also commits the company to environmental protection and focuses on waste recycling initiatives, animal welfare and supplier code of conduct.

3.1 Charities

The KFC Colonel’s Scholars Program is offered to high school seniors who want to pursue a public college or university. Students, who meet the standard, could apply online to become a KFC’s Colonel’s Scholar.

To celebrate World Hunger Relief week 2009, KFC and its parent company YUM! will co-operate again. As a hunger is a big issue problem of all over the world, make an effort to raise awareness of this, the Yum!’s partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme have set up aim will mobilise staff, franchisees and customers to help with it. Many employees from more than 720 KFC restaurants in the UK will be arranging a number of fundraising activities in store, from sponsored silences to KFC car washes.

KFC UK raised more than £365,000 which helped fund a school food project in Africa last year. Yum!’s global efforts spurred unparalleled global awareness, including four million volunteer hours and $20 million in overall donations. This year, they hope with customers help they will beat the target (kfc.com, 2010).

3.2 Packaging and environment

KFC takes environmental protection as important as food quality and customer service. We try our best to reduce environmental pollution and we will pay more attention on it in the future. It is very important for us to keep our customers protecting the environment. According to the facts which we are doing, people could understand and support environmental friendly.

KFC commit that all paper packaging bags are 100% recycled content, all napkins and serviettes (does not include pre-packaged napkins) are 100% recycled content, and 30% of KFC bucket lid is made by recycled content. Also, more than 90% of KFC paperboard packaging would be certified by Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) in May of 2010(kfc.com, 2010).

For all KFC restaurants use more efficient lighting system, which reduce the Carbon emission obviously, and use Energy Star appliances, for instance, the highest energy efficient oven be used generally in these restaurants. We also use high-performance air conditioners. Additionally, these restaurants all install programmable thermostats which could reduce the Carbon emission. Moreover, KFC’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) restaurant was opened by KFC-Taco Bell in Nothhampton and achieved one of LEED’s highest certifications. More and more franchisees are trying their best to use energy efficient lighting and programmable thermostats (kfc.com, 2010).

However, it is very difficult for companies like KFC to recycle waste at the moment. Hence, many recycling contractors refuse to take waste which did not remove food completely, Steve Easterbrook point out, chief executive of waste contractor Veolia Environmental Services (Paton, 2007). Therefore, there are many fast food company have to send the waste to landfill. It is an alternative method of disposal for the environment and local community. From a business point of view, not only benefit for company that saving money, but also benefit for company that being a good citizen. Clearly, it is a great help with morale. In KFC, we would take some staff doing the waste recycling activities, like waste sorting, which helped them feel more involved in the decision-making.

3.3 Animal welfare program

Headquarters of KFC work at the animal conservation in order to build good brand image. KFC as the buyer of food products has responsibility to make sure animals have well treatment before we buy them. We pay more attention on the animal welfare than before, for instance, we use efficient system to ensure our suppliers are treating the animals humanely which supply to us. It is a necessary deal between us and suppliers that they have to agree with the commitment of animal welfare (kfc.com, 2010).

The KFC animal Welfare Advisory Council is composed of industrial experts, which offers the organization information and suggestion according to scientific data and study. Meanwhile, this council plays an important role in motivating the animal welfare plan (kfc.com, 2010).

Under the council’s proposal, KFC develops guidelines and audit plans for suppliers. In the meantime, according to the advice of National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Food Marketing Institute, KFC pays attention to the guiding principles for animals (kfc.com, 2010).

 3.4 Supplier code of conduct

YUM! Company commits that behavior itself in an ethical, legal and socially responsible manner. To encourage conformation with all legal requirements and ethical business practices, YUM! Company made this supplier code of conduct for suppliers of YUM! company.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations: Suppliers have to follow all applicable laws, code and regulations which are enacted by local courts, such as, working hours, wage and salary, equal opportunity, product safety etc. The suppliers of YUM! have to follow the published standards (kfc.com, 2010).

Employment Practices:

Working Hours & Conditions: according to the relevant laws, code and regulations, suppliers should make sure their employees’ safety and healthy working conditions in everyday and every week; meanwhile, they could not ask employees for overtime work.

Non-Discrimination: suppliers should follow the local laws which illuminate the organizations should not take color, religion, sex, age, physical and national origin as the reasons why they employ workers.

Child Labor: suppliers should not hire the employees under the legal age. For instance, YUM! dose not hire the employees who under 14 years of age.

Forced and Indentured Labor: According to the existing law status, any Suppliers should not use workers in servitude for working or producing goods for Yum. Also, the labor should be physically and legally free from any physical, psychological, confinement, or sexual harassment under the Suppliers’ control.

Notification to Employees: Under the law requirement, Suppliers should clearly outline the standard policies and Code of the company, and post the notices which should be fully understand for its employees (kfc.com, 2010).

According to Peter Roberts, as a principal at energy advisory service Hospitable Climates, a lot of people think that corporate social responsibility is just for the large company, nothing to do with smaller businesses. Actually, CSR is all-embracing, from how the company treats its staff, the criterion and the way it treats clients and customers. Furthermore, CSR, which is the useful link between all businesses and local communities, ensure the company have an ethical, social reputation (Paton, 2007).

4. CSR as an aspect of fast food quality

The product attributes of fast food could be broken up into several categories, such as nutritional, sensory and hygienic quality. Although these aspects could not be verified by food’s actual consumption, it is very necessary for organizations to pay more attention on food production and processing ( Baltas, 2001; Bredahl et al.,1998). In terms of environmental protection, the ethical production of human and animal welfare are key problems (Harper and Makatouni, 2002; Wier and Calverley, 2002; Grankvist et al., 2004). Holbrook’s (1999) typology could be used as a tool which can measure generic costumer value. For instance, it could measure functional costumers’ value and ethics. A major driver of ethical trading practices within the retail marketplace is the growing phenomenon of ethical consumerism (Brinkman and Brinkman, 2002; Hosmer, 2002), equating to a UK market value of £6.8 billion in 2001 (Co-operative Bank, 2003; cited Morven,G. and Monika.J.A.,2005). Organizations ethical behaviors could influence production distribution and customer satisfaction (Mohr et al., 2001; Morven,G. and Monika.J.A.,2005). Organizations always use branding as an effective tool to increase their reputation, add supplying meaning of consumer goods (De Chernatony, 2001, McCracken, 1993).

Positive and negative perspectives have influences on brand value. As a social responsible organization, branding could effect the investment on production quality management and reduce customer disappointment. According to Bacon (2004), organizations have to pay more attention on product value and market behavior, because the customer trust not only the information provided by organizations but also the good performances of them.

5. Transferable skills---during my placement what skills I have developed

1. The Weaknesses

The major weaknesses of my placement are lack of the confidence, lack of training practice and lack of work experience. That is the reason why sometimes when I take the order, I always get refunds in the first month of my placement. Not only because I could not remember the menu clearly, but also because I could not totally understand what customers talking about. This has caused me lost confidence when I talked to customers and make my manager to lose his temper. I found that I fear to have an eye contact with other people and when I saw their eyes I easy forget what I should say and my face turn red involuntarily. I feel nervous when a lot of people looking at me. Sometimes, I service customers who from north England or other different nationalities. They speak English really fast and with a very strong accent, it was very difficult for me to understand them. Fortunately, some customers are very kindly and very patient to me. Even they teach me how to pronunciation a single word and encourage me to have a confidence. Especially for us different nationalities, we are non-native speakers and lack of confidence in how to properly use of the language. Apparently, using appropriate words at appropriate time is a big challenge for the foreigner. So I make a specific plan to improve my oral English, listening and force myself to remember menu in the shortest time. Those goals can be achieved by attending the social activities, like friends’ part, company’s Christmas party. Also, talking as much as possible to colleagues who come from different parts of UK and other countries, this is an excellent opportunity to allow me getting better on listening and the skills of communication.

Lacking of work experience could be another weak point which I feel I need to improve. I work in KFC Lansdowne and sometimes I might service customers who drunk and very rude. They lost patience with me, and attack me with a torrent of abuse. This scared me while I talking with drunken customers. Only I can do at that time just standing, but now I learn how to deal with problems in that kind of situation. I service this kind of customers with very patient mood, always smiling, apologising and in that situation I would increase my voice bite loudly, in order to give me more confidence, if they find many troubles to me I would call manager coming or I would inform police to involve. Problem-solving is another skill development. Nevertheless, customers are still pressing their claim for compensation. . I think the most important skill is the dealing with customer’s enquiries. Knowing what people’s needs, thoughts and wants is essential that will help you to sell your product. It is also significant to know customers, like what is he or her like, why this person behaving in this way, as well as what kind of information does this person would like to get from you, in other words, what aspects would be satisfied customers the most. When customers dinning in our restaurant, we should try our best to meet their need and adopt effective communication skills. Because they would judge our operation by the degree of ‘care’ that convey in the messages the team members send (Simos, 2005).

2. Management skills

KFC, as one of leading company in the global fast food industry, deserve a perspective analysis on its corporation management. During my placement, I work in two different KFC shops (Imax and Lansdowne) and learn lot management skills. I never had an experience that working with people who come from different countries and own different culture backgrounds. My managers come form Indian; they have a good confident when they communicate with other people. They are very excellent group members. Not only because they can speak fluent English, but also because they are very good at management skills. Good manager would be apologized if they make a mistake and always be patient to listening staff complain or provide useful advise and care about the motion of each staff. For instance, When I worked as sales assistant in Lansdowne for such a long term, I do remember last year when the traditional Chinese New Year coming soon, the KFC manager who knows me been to UK almost one year and half, and never go home to celebrate the Chinese new year with family, so KFC manager ask me to take holiday for two weeks. Motivation, one of the best ways to encourage employees, is very helpful to arouse the enthusiasm of hard working. It is a win-win situation. Not only could bring benefit to company, but also could meet the needs of employees.

3. Skill development

To achieve a successful placement, there are a lot of important aspects in the whole process, such as: time management, teamwork and outline. When I work in Imax KFC, we need clean three floors everyday when we closed the restaurant. The manager only allows us to do the lobby in one hour. Owing to different personalities and understandings, it would appear in various kinds of performances. My team number are all from different Countries, we distribute work by ourselves and make a clearly outline. A successful outline makes sure the progress of work will carry out under the correct direction. The outline makes every group member know what they are going to do and what the aim is. It is worth making an outline, especially for team work. At the beginning of the work, it is very important for people to work together to understand what they need to do. Then based on the understanding of the work, we decide what kind of outline is more efficient and suitable for us.

To manage time effectively, we must control ourselves and self-discipline. When we do not consciously control time, old habits will control our precious time and ruin our maximum achievements. As the matter of fact, the managing time has a lot of advantages: gain time and save time, motivates and initiates, reduces avoidance and anxiety. Efficient time Management is not only just managing our time, but also managing ourselves in relation to time. It is setting order of tasks and taking charge of our situation and utilization of time, which means changing those habits or activities that indulge us to waste time. I am willing to experiment with different methods and ideas to enable me to find the best way to make maximum use of time.

In a nutshell, this period of working in Imax KFC that provided me an excellent opportunity to get to know these skills, which embraced working as a team, communication, managing time, leadership as well as problem-solving. And I do believe in the early future I could benefit from this period of placement in Imax KFC and cope with the situation that similar to this.

4. Learn how to training staff

During the last period of my placement, I transfer from Imax to Lansdowne KFC. I did my usual jobs as before, although I knew I was going to leave KFC soon, I still working hard, put every effort I could to make my job more enjoyable and be a great contributor to the company.

Recently, quite a few staff had left and the manager was busy at interviewing and training new staff. In that case, the manager thinking about trains me as a team leader and when he train new staffs, he would show me how to nurture freshman and guide them behaviour. When new staffs started to work, all the team leaders organised all kinds of activities, such as team meeting, team lunches and after work drinks, which help them getting to know each other quickly. I think that was a great idea in term of making people work together as a whole team, generates more profitability for the company.

It is essential that every staff numbers receive sufficient the training of customer service training. Customer training is not only training like smiling and listening. For instance, customer is unsatisfied or unhappy with our food, like the fires is not fresh, the manager have to make sure all KFC staff understand how to deal with this special situation in order to avoid the rise of such incidence. At this time, staff should keep clearly mind, and let customer know that they would get one free fresh fries immediately. Also, some customer complain about our food out of stock when they order, the staff should be used more polite way to answer this query that make customer feel comfortable and forgive us.

Although I have almost half a year working experience in Imax KFC, that is not good enough to be a qualified team leader. Therefore, the company gave me one month training session in order to run the shift properly. This training was very helpful and essential, not only my product knowledge has improved dramatically, but also the whole flow of shift has a comprehensive grasp. I feel more confident to talk with the direct customers, no matter what, through the telephone, or in writing by emails. However, there were still few enquiries I cannot deal with, so I started to use the company website, read brochures, if I got any enquiries that I could not handle I always asked for help from my colleagues. I always do my best to help manager when they are busy could not answer the phone call. I felt that the more enquiries I got the more knowledge gained and communication skill improved.

In my placement I have been able to experience these in action. I remembered once I was talking to a customer on the phone, he was sounds very angry, because he bought 10 pieces bucket, but when he get home only got 8 pieces in the bucket. Therefore, I asked him what time he come and buy the bucket, which till he pay and what kind of way he pay. Eventually, he told me what time he would come and told me he would come again, because I care about the benefit of customer and really patient. This is just one of the simple examples, but it shows me how important it is to know a customer’s mentality.

Some times, I really need to think carefully about our work, think what kind of contribution I could make to KFC. Hence, as a master student, not only to be normal staff who just simply works everyday and earn the minimum wage. I believe after 8 months doing my job, my overall ability has reached a peak. I feel progressively more confident in my role. Both my communication skills and working abilities have improved greatly. During this period I was asked to be a member of the team leader, the key skill I have gained has been managing time and organisation.

6. Conclusion

The public will keep eyes on the environmental, social issues and ethical issues, especially for a company with an outstanding reputation. During the course of this paper the reader will come across several findings of the corporate social responsibility pose to the Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC has held a successful presence in UK retail industry for many years, with high levels of brand image. Kentucky Fried Chicken takes responsibility that protecting environment and involving social measures in stead of waiting the government imposes particular laws. KFC realize the important of corporate social responsibility and choose the appropriate way to carry out those measures.

It was found that corporate social responsibility within the fast food industry was divided into several halves, like nutritional, sensory and hygienic quality. Through research it was also found that environmental protection, ethical issues and animal welfare are significant problems.

My placement at KFC has been a valuable experience, being able to observe how to run a restaurant in regard to its social responsibility. Clearly, it is useful for my future career and reward for my whole life. Not only broad my horizon but also enrich my life.


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