Intrapreneurship series tells narratives of large companies that engage in independent social activism by building projects that contribute to local communities. These projects are driven by intrapreneurs who, by adapting entrepreneurial and start-up strategies, add to their companies’ coefficient of innovation. By reinforcing the value of social intrapreneurs, we hope to encourage more companies to engage in employee-driven creative ideation, galvanising intrapreneurs with potential into positive action. Learn more about SEV’s original social intrapreneurship builder.
Yum! Brands’ Specially-Abled Restaurants
by Joanne Willemin & Yusuf Jaffar
Here is a fact you won’t find hard to believe: persons with disabilities are more likely to be poor than those without special needs. Indeed, they face the double challenge of employment and bearing a higher cost of living due to medical care and adjustment costs.
There are about 650 million persons with disabilities living across Asia Pacific. On average, they are three times less likely to participate in the labour market. They suffer from a stigma that they are less productive, and even when they do hold a job, they are more likely to occupy low-paid, low-level positions with poor prospects for career progression. Since they often work in the informal sector, they are also unable to take advantage of common employee benefits such as pension schemes or insurance.
Such inequality at workplace prevents most people with disabilities from attaining a sustainable income. But more than that, it is also a reason that makes integration into society difficult for them, since holding a stable job tends to help with self-esteem, relationships and personal development.
Innovation to emulate
Yum! Brands, Inc. is an American operator of fast food brands KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and WingStreet. The group advocates diversity and inclusion and is therefore engaged in creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Over the past decade, the group has opened a number of specially-abled restaurants within its global KFC chain. These restaurants are operated almost exclusively by the hearing impaired or blind staff. Customers order their meals and drinks using simplified sign language that is explained inside the restaurant or using a menu on the counter.
Not only does the company hire the disabled but it also trains them, assisting in their self-development through various skills. The employees of these stores receive the same salary and benefit packages as any other KFC staff.
Impact to date
KFC specially-abled stores do as well as other KFC restaurants in any given area, proving that regardless of the different way of ordering and given only slight changes to the working environment, people with disabilities can deliver the appropriate quality of service.
Today, KFC has outlets run by disabled people in Egypt, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Thailand. India is the most accomplished model for this type of restaurant: since 2008, the company has opened 21 specially-abled restaurants in the country which employ more than 300 people, earning the group several awards by the local government.