KFC hunts for golden egg in Myanmar's new market

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

When KFC arrives in Myanmar, Laos will be the only southeast Asian nation without the chain
When KFC arrives in Myanmar, Laos will be the only southeast Asian nation without the chain

Related tags: Kfc, Fast food

US fast food is poised to arrive in Yangon for the first time after KFC was named the first north American chain to open in Myanmar.

Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic, KFC’s franchise holder in the former pariah state, said the Yum Brands-owned chain would be “the first major American quick service restaurant to establish a foothold in Myanmar”. 

"Bringing KFC to Myanmar is an important step to achieving Yoma Strategic's goal in being a key player in the country's food and beverage sector​," Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic, said in the company's statement to the Singapore Exchange.

It added that KFC is among the first handful of quick service restaurants that have plans to enter the Myanmar market. The statement did not mention a time span for the opening of the first new outlets.

The announcement caps a good day for Yum in Asia after the company’s share price completed a rally by one-third since they crashed in October last year after its KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants were hit by a scandal involving their Chinese meat supplier.

China is especially important for Yum as it generates more than half of the company’s global revenue. This year, it plans to open 700 more locations in the country to increase its store count by a tenth. 

It believes that even with 4,800 KFCs, its core Chinese brand, there is room for three times more. In the first-half of 2014, before the meat supplier scandal, same-store sales were up 12% in China and its operating margin was nearly 20%.

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