KFC is hoping to bring a new experience to its customers.
The fast food operator, owned by Restaurant Brands, has today opened its first table-serviced store in Auckland's Fort St.
Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy says the move to offer table service reflects shifting consumer expectations.
"Its really about trying to address some of the things that traditional fast food has struggled with, such as providing a better experience," he says. "People are looking for a fast service; being able to sit down, operate your mobile phone, chat with friends while waiting, which is more comfortable and a better experience."
Following a successful testing period, the Fort St location was specifically chosen to house KFC's first table serviced restaurant.
"The area that the [new] store is in has a lot of residential and commercial activity so people would like to be able to come in, sit down and have a quick meal.
"Having customers stand around, waiting for an order to then be able to take it and sit down is not ideal, and so table service became an important part of the solution to improve the experience."
Creedy says customers no longer just want food fast - they want an experience.
"Some people would prefer to have a discussion or a lunch meeting maybe and we have tried to offer them a variety of options; fast or linger a bit longer."
The introduction of in-store kiosks were to cater to those wanting the traditional "quick in and out" experience, he says.
Other table-serviced restaurants will roll out to regions outside of Auckland, too.
KFC is set to open another urban store in Wellington CBD early next year and is working on another in Christchurch.
"The idea is to definitely bring it out to all new urban stores," he says.
The urban, industrial-feel store interior was designed to fit with the vibe of Fort St.
"The idea is slightly along a container line. We wanted it to be something that could fit in with the Fort St crowd. This is a new landmark design, and we're testing it to see how it will shape up," Ray McElroy, architect of Mortlock McElroy Architects, says.
"We put in new windows, the idea that we wanted to draw people in a little bit and make it look interesting to the office workers in the area."
McElroy says the design needed to be robust enough to fit with the location.
Creedy: "We are really pleased with how all of the new elements have come together - from open plan seating, to the kiosks and the mural of Colonel Sanders, the original celebrity chef by artist Mr. G."
The arrival of UberEats and other delivery services means KFC is having to adapt.
"We're moving with the times. We have two markets that have successfully been trialling delivery for several months now," Creedy says.
"The intention is once the opening rush of the store cools down then we'll introduce delivery out of this store.
"If you thought of KFC offering drive-thru, dine-in, take out in the traditional type store design or dine-in, take out or delivery out of a urban design so there will still be three channels it's just with that instead of this being a drive-thru channel, it will be a delivery channel, which will complete the trio of services.
"There's a lot of momentum behind this store design."
KFC's Fort St store will operate until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.