Magazine

KFC Guyana – A Managers formula to continued growth and success

The red and white image of Colonel Sanders, genial founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a recognised global brand, smiling over restaurants in 136 countries worldwide. Paul Subryan is the General Manager of KFC Guyana, one of the many companies coming under the Beharry Group, a household name in Guyana. We spoke to him about his career so far and his plans for the future of the franchise.

Subryan started his career with Banks DIH as a Sales Supervisor “way back in 1996.” He then moved to British American Tobacco in Trade Marketing for five years, he was Employee of the Year in his second year at the firm. In 2005 he started with the Beharry Group in the capacity of Manager for the Cigarettes Distribution Division. “I worked there for twelve years, leading the transition from minority distributor for BAT to single owned distributor rights.” Although he has strong local roots, Subryan familiarised himself with International Business Relations through working with Banks DIH’s export market and BAT’s Caribbean Region. “Visiting markets around the Caribbean helped me to understand economies outside Guyana and on a broader perspective, how those economies can affect our local markets.” In 2017 he moved to KFC.

 

“The experience required a total turnaround of my mindset,” he says. “The standards of KFC are very rigid. The day-to-day duties of this business is a complex set of activities aimed at one goal – to deliver complete satisfaction in every bite. We strive to do this by providing our customers with a great service in a clean and pleasant environment and with a great tasting product, always.”

History in the Making

The Beharry Group started their project to become the KFC franchisee for Guyana in the latter half of 2015. There had been a 4-5 year hiatus in which KFC had no franchise in the county and Subryan was given the task of preparing the business case for Beharry. “We were two days away from the deadline when we got the word,” he says. “I’m very proud that within two days we got that proposal ready and submitted within the deadline.” Two months after submitting Subryan and his team were invited to make their case to YUM Brands Latin America/Caribbean Regional Team. “The rest is history in the making still,” he tells us with pride.

“The deal was sealed the very next month,” he says, “and that ended my initial role with KFC.” The first Guyanese KFC restaurant opened in November 2016. Before building had finished on a second, Subryan was assigned to his current role in March 2017. Since then KFC branches have opened in Guyana at a rate of two a year.

Employee Ethos

KFC is proud of the fact it promotes from within. In Guyana they currently have 360 employees with 25 on the management and supervisory team. “We continue to invest heavily in training and development for all our employees,” Subryan tells us. He is also proud of the firm’s approach to creating a fair work/life balance. “Family is important to us and our Board of Directors is integrally involved in our employee’s welfare and well-being.” The KFC family is set to grow in 2020 with two more restaurants due to open, bringing in 80-100 new employees.
“Each employee is employed three months in advance (before starting in restaurant work) for our rigid training programme. First, they are screened and cleared by the local public health authority before they undergo training in food safety, food preparation procedures and customer service management. They undergo an evaluation at the end of each cycle of training before being placed in the ‘practical test environment’ for the final evaluation. Unfortunately, not all of them make it into the employment chain, some are given a second chance depending on their potential.”

“Each restaurant is a multi-million dollar investment. KFC has never had such a big impact in the history of Guyana with seven restaurants to date and with a projection to end 2020 with nine Restaurants in four years.”

Subryan has the excitement of someone in at the start of something big. “I’m excited and proud to be given the opportunity to be a part of it; the impact that KFC has had so far in Guyana has been an incredible experience.”

Focus on the Customer

All of the Beharry Group’s companies are linked by “a passion for first class customer service” and the “recipe for success” at KFC is no different. “It starts internally, we pay keen attention to our standards of conduct and how we manage our most valuable internal assets, our employees, ensuring that they that they are happy and motivated before we can endeavour to make our customers happy.” Subryan speaks with real passion about their customer-focused approach. “We focus on our strengths, which starts with our unwavering desire for great customer service, they must always experience the warmth and passion with which we serve them.”

Subryan identifies the consistency of KFC’S product with their level of success. “Consistency of taste, texture and temperature; this gives us the competitive edge.”

“Our promotions, communication and sponsorship programmes are platforms that have brought us closer to our customers. Equally important, are our facilities, we work hard on our restaurants to ensure that they maintain the highest standards for a pleasant and comfortable experience, be it to shop or work here.” Partnerships

KFC in Guyana have been working with their current suppliers for 3-4 years and Subryan tells us “the relationship is one on one.” However, he is keen to stress there are always opportunities to work with KFC depending on “quality, legitimacy of business, consistency, dependability and competitive prices.” That said the existing partnerships are strong and Subryan sees no need to disrupt a winning formula. “Many of our local suppliers have been in partnership with the group of companies for a long time; it is as a result of this long term standing that we have that leverage to sometimes, make demands of them outside of the standard procedures. They deliver, without hesitating.”

Keeping Green

The company is keen to limit the environmental cost of their activities and in 2016 brought in paper packaging for all their products. Subryan tells us they will eliminate plastic straws by mid 2021, “a small but important step in our mission to be more environmentally friendly.” KFC Guyana uses only energy efficient equipment, the lighting is all LEDs and all cookers are gas “so as not to put the national power supply under additional burdens.” The company and Subryan take this mission seriously and customers can enjoy their meals in the knowledge the franchise is trying to minimise environmental costs.

Past and Future Success

Subryan speaks with pride of KFC’s growth over the past twelve months. “We have promoted several team members to supervisors and supervisors to managers and they continue to perform with passion to deliver on our overall customer satisfaction objective.” Over the coming year he fully expects the company to “set the pace with customer service and offer great value for their hard earned money, we will continue to focus on our operations to make it more efficient, to deliver at a faster pace, to continue growing the accessibility of KFC and generally, to exceed the expectations of every customer that interacts with our brand.” With the steady growth of KFC as a popular food franchise, few would doubt these possibilities. As Subryan says;
“We cannot be in an industry like this and not have a heart for what we do. It starts with loving your role, understanding the different roles and people around you and making them feel the warmth and appreciation of their hard work, so that they enjoy being here and enjoy hosting the 5000+ fans that walk through our doors every day.”

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