KFC Youth Report puts confidence in the spotlight

By Nick Hall | 03 Sep 2019 View comments

Iconic fast-food chain, KFC is leading the charge on improving the livelihood of young Australians, following the release of its second annual KFC Youth Confidence report.

Taking a comprehensive look into youth attitudes, opinions and challenges, the report revealed a series of underlying issues affecting the nation’s young workers. The most significant of which being a crisis of confidence.

According to the results, young Australians ranked 6/10 on the Youth Confidence Index, with 40 per cent experiencing a lack of confidence every day.

While the ranking is up slightly on last year’s 5.5 rating, the report went on to reveal that less than one in five young people feel confident enough to be themselves in all areas of their lives.

Nikki Lawson, KFC Australia managing director said it was critical for employers to create a workplace that encouraged individuality and confidence at all levels.

“The youth of today are the future of tomorrow and we’re committed to creating an environment that empowers and supports young people not just in our restaurants, but beyond the walls of KFC,” Lawson told Inside Franchise Business.

“It’s important to give young Aussies the skills and support they need to thrive, not just survive. Everyone has a role to play in society and even the smallest contributions can make a big difference. “

The KFC Youth Foundation

The August report is the second annual release from the iconic franchise and sees KFC partner with five charity organisations; ReachOut, Whitelion, StreetWork, Youngcare and Reach to raise awareness.

Lawson said KFC was inspired to take an active role in improving youth confidence after witnessing the impacts on the network first-hand. In 2018, the brand launched the KFC Youth Foundation following extensive consultation with franchisees, corporate and field team members, identifying a need to greater support young workers.

“We have seen first-hand from our own people that when confident, young Aussies have the potential to achieve great things – we firmly believe confidence helps youth to thrive,” Lawson said.

With a network of over 650 restaurants across Australia, KFC is one of the largest youth employers nation-wide. Lawson said addressing concerns among the network was not only good for business, but good for the community as well.

“With 90 per cent of our team under the age of 25, it was a no-brainer for us to go beyond our restaurants to support young Aussies,” she said.

“We love to see our people succeed and develop when working with us, but we get equally excited when we see them achieve in their careers and personal goals, beyond KFC. We know that by putting our people first, profit will follow.”

KFC franchise partners involvement

Since launching in May 2018, the KFC Youth Foundation has raised more than $1.4m to address youth confidence.

According to Adam Gibson, New South Wales state manager Whitelion, KFC’s contributions have been critical to the organisation’s ongoing efforts.

“Every day I see the huge difference work makes for at risk young people,” he said.

“It is genuinely life-changing for them to go from lives of poverty or struggle or not being able to leave the house due to mental health challenges to being confident young people who have access to new mates at work and financial independence. Not many people would realise a part time job at KFC can change a life.”

Lawson said the success of the program was a testament to the entire network, revealing that a concerted effort on behalf of KFC franchisees had driven the widespread adoption.

“For a brand as large as ours, we have a responsibility to shine a light on the confidence deficit and make a difference to young people,” she said.

“Our franchise partners own 95 per cent of restaurants locally and are an incredible group of people who take pride in being involved in their communities. Through initiatives such as the KFC Youth Foundation they are helping to make a big difference to those in need.”

KFC Youth Foundation outcomes

This year, the KFC Youth Foundation aims to raise $1.5m to address youth confidence concerns through initiatives such as the recent ‘Chip In For Youth’ week fund raiser.

Lawson said KFC’s fund raising efforts had allowed at-risk Australians to realise their potential, providing independence and dignity through support.

“The KFC Youth Foundation is a meaningful way to help build confidence in more Australians, while getting our own team members involved in an important cause,” she said.

“Our people have told us that to them, KFC is first a training school, second a family and third, a place to be, where they feel truly supported and able to be themselves. This is inspiring to hear and we hope that with our foundation and the work our incredible charity partners do, we can give more young people the support they need to succeed.”