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KFC Uses Virtual Reality to Train Its Real-World Cooks


Blending virtual reality with real reality, KFC is using VR technology to demonstrate how to make Original Recipe fried chicken in an entirely unique, hands-on and modern way. "The Hard Way – a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room" is designed as an escape room where Colonel Sanders gives his trainees hints and clues along the way to ensure they are making fried chicken the Hard Way – the way that he invented more than 70 years ago.

"In 1940 the Colonel was just one man frying chicken by hand. Now we have nearly 19,000 trained cooks across the U.S., but they're still doing it by hand," said George Felix, KFC U.S. director of advertising. "Our cooking process hasn't changed much in 70 years, but the way we can train our cooks using modern technology sure has."

After successfully completing the five main steps – inspecting, rinsing, breading, racking and pressure frying – participants exit the secret training kitchen with a high-level glimpse of what goes into cooking Original Recipe chicken, a process that takes 25 minutes from start to service in its real-world KFC kitchens across the U.S. In the virtual world, the game is able to utilize the magic of modern technology, such as time lapse, to provide participants with a ten-minute demonstration of KFC's cooking process.

KFC will use the VR simulation to supplement its robust, multi-step employee training program, called Chicken Mastery Certification, which provides detailed eLearning and hands-on training for cooks in each of KFC's kitchens. KFC will provide yet another platform by bringing the VR simulation technology to its regional general manager training classes, quarterly franchise meetings, and employee onboarding at its headquarters. Incorporating playful design and game mechanics that make virtual reality so popular, such as the escape room concept, mini games, surprises and a meticulous Colonel who controls the entire experience, KFC's VR tool is a fun and interactive add-on to the brand's training program.

Instead of using virtual reality to teach team members how to do their job faster, KFC is using the technology to teach its cooks how to make its world-famous chicken better. It's a gamified take on the Colonel's proprietary, once-patented process for pressure-frying chicken, using his still-secret Original Recipe blend of 11 herbs and spices.

"The Hard Way – a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room" was developed in partnership with Wieden+Kennedy's creative technology group, W+K Lodge, and designed for the Oculus platform utilizing the Rift headset and Touch controllers.

Colonel Harland Sanders was the original entrepreneur, and today KFC lives out the spirit of innovation in its restaurants with menu development and in its marketing with engaging campaigns.

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