KFC Uses AI to Impersonate Colonel Sanders for Voice Orders

Using Alexa and new AI capabilities, customers can chat with KFC's famous Colonel Sanders and order chicken using voice controls

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Need to Know

  • Customers can now order fried chicken directly from Colonel Sanders himself, thanks to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team that recreated the iconic voice of Colonel Sanders.
  • KFC is the first global QSR brand to use this variation of text-to-speech technology to create a unique ordering experience.
  • KFC is the world’s third-biggest and QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) and one of the most digitally forward, with more than 22,000 stores in almost 140 countries, and $26 billion in sales per year.

Analysis

Reinventing fried chicken in the digital age requires an overhaul, but KFC is ready. All a customer needs to do is ask, and the Colonel will deliver. 

KFC Canada partnered with Amazon Web Services to transform Amazon Polly, an AI text-to-speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies, into the iconic voice of KFC’s Founder, Colonel Harland Sanders.

“Alexa, ask KFC Canada to reorder” is the start of new conversations customers can have to reorder favorites from local KFC locations. This comes on the heels of a Chicken Talk skill that was launched in 2017 (which starts with “Alexa, talk chicken to me”) that lets customers play chicken trivia games and have poultry-filled conversations with the Colonel. 

Dr. Matt Wood, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence, AWS said “we extended Amazon Polly… to incorporate a spicy Southern accent and speech patterns that are consistent with the world-famous persona of Colonel Sanders.”

KFC’s global chief digital officer, Ryan Ostrom, says that the brand opens a restaurant every six hours. KFC is behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks in global brand value and has made a concerted effort to reinvent the customer experience and make it as convenient as possible.

“Because of our sheer size, we will have more kiosks than terminals at Bank of America. We will be the largest delivery player—greater than any pizza company in the world—and we will have more click-and-collect points than Walmart, Kroger, Target and Costco combined,” said Ostrom. “It is going to make us one of the largest omnichannel brands in the world.”

KFC’s digital transformation has been four years in the making and includes digital fencing to help “own the point of hunger”, buying buckets of fried chicken with bitcoin, and using Google glass to train more remote employees and ensure quality.

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