KFC’s UK CMO Jack Hinchliffe departs to lead marketing at The Habit Burger Grill

Hinchliffe was promoted to UK CMO in July 2021 following the departure of Meghan Farren. His departure comes after more than eight years with the brand.

KFC’s top UK marketer Jack Hinchliffe has left the brand to take up the CMO role at The Habit Burger Grill, a US-based restaurant chain also owned by Yum! Brands. It is not yet known who will replace him at KFC.

Hinchliffe has spent over eight years at KFC, joining in 2015 as senior marketing manager and quickly gaining promotion to head of innovation later that same year.

He was then named innovation director in 2016, before becoming marketing director in 2019. In July 2021 he was promoted to UK CMO, following the departure of Meghan Farren.

Later that year, KFC was awarded the 2021 Brand of the Year title at the Marketing Week awards for its success navigating the Covid-19 crisis.

Describing creativity as the cornerstone of his marketing philosophy, Hinchliffe told Marketing Week at the time: “Our success has in no small part been driven by our consistency. Doing the diagnosis, setting a clear vision, developing the right strategy, then executing with consistency and staying the course.”‘You can feel the creativity’: KFC on building a ‘brand for the nation’

More recently, KFC UK won last year’s Marketing Week Award for Long Term Brand Building Excellence with its ‘The Right Way’ strategic platform, launched in 2017. In the space of five years KFC hit more than £1bn in revenue and grew market share by 38%. The fast-food chain improved quality perceptions (up 6.2 points), value (up 7.3 points) and the brand overall (up 8.7 points), attracting 15 million new customers.

However, the UK business has been harder hit than KFC’s other markets due to the “more pronounced” rise in energy costs. In November, Yum! Brands announced a 7% year-on-year decline in system sales value over the third quarter, compared to a 25% increase in Europe as a whole.

Yum! bought The Habit Burger Grill in March 2021 for approximately $375m (£310m). The chain offers made-to-order items chargrilled over an open flame, and operates nearly 300 company-owned and franchised restaurants across the US and in China.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, The Habit Burger Grill saw like-for-like sales decrease 1%. However, its system sales value climbed 12% due to Yum!’s rapid expansion of the chain.