US-based fast food chain KFC plans to double the count of women employees at its restaurants in India to around 5,000 in the next three to four years as it steps up diversity and inclusion initiatives in the country, according to a top company official.
KFC India, which currently operates two all-women restaurants, is also looking at increasing the overall ratio of women employees to 40 percent by 2024 from the current 30 percent under its 'KFC Kshamata' programme a focused effort towards driving doubling of empowerment by 2024.
"On gender diversity, it has grown very organically. It is not like we were going out and trying to make a very loud exercise. Between 2013-14 and pre-Covid, in those five or six years diversity in our restaurants, from a gender perspective, has grown from 7-8 percent to around 30 percent…that included both team members and leaders of restaurants,” KFC India Managing Director Samir Menon told PTI.
"The intent is to get to 40 percent by 2024,” he added.
Taking forward KFC’s global diversity and inclusion agenda, KFC India said it aims to bridge the gender and ability imbalance gap and increase the women workforce at their restaurants by two times by 2024.
"We have about 2,500 hundred women in our restaurants across states…Our intent is to at least, if nothing else, double the number of women we have in our restaurants over the next three or or four years and bring it up to 5,000 or so,” Menon said.
The company had opened its first all-women restaurant in Darjeeling and the second one opened recently in Hyderabad, which also happened to be the 25,000th KFC restaurant in the world.
"We are adding new restaurants as well. This (gender diversity) sort of gets more amplified as more and more restaurants are opened,” he said.
Stating that the company would continue to encourage more women at work, Menon said, "Over the years, we have realised, and even a research we did in 2019 internally showed up, that in many ways women employees have higher retention, lower attrition and competitive scores are very strong as well. Therefore, from an overall brand perspective it resonates so beautifully with the way our brand is built. And therefore we want to go behind this in a large way.”
KFC India said it also plans to double the footprint of Special KFCs — operated by hearing and speech impaired team members, by 2024.
It would also launch select, flagship Special KFCs across the country, that provide an elevated KFC experience for specially-abled team members as well as customers.
Under its KFC Kshamata programme, the brand aims to have 70 'Special KFCs’ by 2024, up from over 30 at present.
"Over the last decade or so that first restaurant (Special KFC) has become over 30 and from the first five or six people it has become almost 200. The process of doing that has led us to a very deep conviction that as a brand we can make an impact…Our intent is to keep growing that,” Menon said.
At present, KFC India operates over 480 restaurants in more than 130 cities across the country.