Yum! Brands to open first Taco Bell in China this year

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Yum! Brands to open first Taco Bell in China this year

Related tags: Pizza hut, Fast food, China

Yum! Brands, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut, plans to open its first Taco Bell store in China by the end of this year.

The American company, which has invested sizeably in China in recent years, now operates a total of 7,000 restaurants in the country.

Despite several food safety scandals and a slowing economy, Yum! has no intention to halt its pace of growth in the country, and last October set in motion a process to spin off its China operation into a distinct company headed by local management.

Yum! China will pay Yum! Brands a license fee of 3% of its sales for those three brands in China.

Taco Bell’s launch in China is part of an initiative to make transform it into a "global iconic brand​” alongside its stablemates, said chief executive Greg Creed at an industry conference. The first outlet is slated to open in Shanghai.

Sales have barely recovered since KFC was found to be selling tainted meat in China in 2014 despite a sizeable marketing campaign to assure customers. 

It appears that Creed is wooing the Chinese government through Yum!’s aggressive growth plans, with the company having the potential to employ around 1m people in the country at an anticipated 20,000 locations.

Job creation is important to the Chinese government, and we think our growth aligns with what the Chinese government wants to achieve​," Creed said recently. Currently the company employs roughly 450,000 staff in China, and employment is a high priority in Beijing as the country’s economy slows.

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