Yum! Brands owns three of the world's biggest and best known fast food franchises: KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. None of them individually matches the global power of the McDonald's brand, but Yum's combined force gives it an impressive portfolio of more than 50,170 restaurants in almost 150 countries. This makes it the #1 restaurant chain worldwide by outlets, although McDonald's outperforms it by sales, and the vast majority of Yum outlets are franchised. Only around 910 outlets are company-operated. The company's stellar international growth has tended to offset weak performance in the US where KFC and Pizza Hut have struggled to cope with fierce local competition. Taco Bell is now Yum's most powerful brand in the US. However, the group's most important market by far is China, where it is the dominant restaurant group with more than 6,000 outlets, mostly under the KFC banner. China contributes more than half the group's total system revenues, but the local operating business was spun off as a standalone franchisee - Yum China - in 2015. It also owns two local brands, Little Sheep and East Dawning. Other restaurant brands have also been divested: US chains A&W and Long John Silver's were sold to their franchisees in 2011. Wing Street is the umbrella for combined outlets in the US selling menu items from two or three of the group's three main brands. Combined system sales for Yum's three brands were $50bn in 2020, but the vast majority of outlets are franchised. Group revenues were $5.7bn in 2020 with net income of $904m. David Gibbs succeeded Greg Creed as CEO in 2020. All Yum's brands suffered an impact from Covid closures during 2020, with sales and profits falling. KFC is Yum's biggest global brand with 25,000 outlets in 145 countries and system sales of $26.3bn in 2020. More than a quarter of sales - $7.1bn - are generated in China, and a further $3.2bn in other Asian markets. The US contributed 18% or $4.7bn, but the brand has suffered intense competition there from Chick-Fil-A, now America's biggest chicken restaurant by sales. Pizza Hut is Yum's second largest brand with 17,640 outlets in 113 countries, and system sales just under $12.0bn. Its biggest market is the US (45% of system sales), followed by China (15%). Taco Bell is still currently the smallest of the big three, but on course to overtake Pizza Hut, in a year or two. It had 7,427 outlets in 30 countries by the end of 2020, with system sales close behind Pizza Hut at $11.7bn. It is Yum's most lucrative chain by far in terms of sales per store, generating an average of almost $1.6m per outlet per year (double Pizza Hut and 50% higher than KFC). Taco Bell US alone contributed system sales of over $11bn, making it the country's #4 restaurant brand overall. Pizza Hut ranked #11 at $5.6bn, some way behind Domino's, while KFC has steadily slipped down the rankings, reaching #14 overall in the US in 2019 at $4.5bn, now almost two-thirds behind arch-rival Chick-fil-A. The group acquired US chain Habit Burger Grill in 2020, but sales are still small.
Capsule checked 12th May 2020
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Historical profile information for Yum! Brands
Marketer Moves 16th April 2021: New CMO TBC at KFC US. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Apr 2021: "Crispy". Great work from Havas Paris in their first big campaign for KFC in France. KFC has one huge advantage over most other fast-feeders in that it has at its heart an unbeatably cool brand icon in the form of Colonel Sanders himself. (Cool is one thing that Ronald McDonald, for example, quite definitely is not). The white suit, white hair and white goatee! Classic! In his many different incarnations, the Colonel has successfully powered much of the best branding for KFC all over the world in recent years, but this slimmed-down and rejuvenated Sanders is a comparatively new introduction in France. Of course, the real Harlan Sanders was never even remotely as cool as this (even if he was in fact renowned during his lifetime for "the force and variety of his swearing"). But then, as Mark Twain said, you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Marketer Moves 5th April 2021: New marketing team at Pizza Hut US. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jun 2020: There were some significant changes in the ranking of America's biggest restaurant chains for 2019, even before the chaos being inflicted this year by Coronavirus. According to research from industry watcher NRN, US system sales for Subway took a sharp tumble, causing the sandwich chain to fall from 4th to 6th place. Taco Bell stormed up the chart to seize 4th place. Its near-9% jump in system sales represented an increase of almost $1bn in takings. Burger King moved into 5th place. Among the Top 20, there were year-on-year declines also for Applebee's and Olive Garden, while fast-casual Chinese brand Panda Express joined the Top 20 for the first time as a result of a 12% increase in sales. Popeyes, now owned by Burger King parent RBI, chalked up an impressive 18% leap to 19th place. McDonald's, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A held firm to the top three spots respectively.
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Feb 2020: Yum Brands reassigned members of its global KFC team to address disappointing performance at its long-suffering Pizza Hut USA division and to plug a hole at Taco Bell. KFC Global marketing director George Felix was named as CMO of Pizza Hut USA, and his colleague David Graves becomes chief brand officer. Meanwhile Nikki Lawson, previously MD of KFC South Pacific, stepped into the role of global chief brand officer at Taco Bell, vacant since the departure of Marisa Thalberg last year. Full year revenues at Yum slipped 2% to $5.6bn, reflecting the continuing shift towards all-franchised outlets. Net income came in at $1.3bn, down 16%. (The previous year included a large on-off gain from refranchising). Global system sales from KFC rose 6% to $27.9bn; Pizza Hut rose 6% to $12.9bn (gains were mainly from international); Taco Bell was up 9% to $11.8bn.
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Jan 2020: Yum Brands is dipping a toe into the burger business for the first time with the acquisition of Californian fast-casual chain Habit Burger Grill. Though it's been going for more than 50 years, the new addition is still a minnow compared to Yum's three main brands. It has just 280 restaurants, mostly in the US, but also China. Habit CEO Russell Bendel aims to increase that estate to 2,000 outlets under Yum's ownership. "There is plenty of runway left," he told the WSJ. The deal valued Habit at $375m, about a third above its undisturbed pre-offer price. Yet some analysts have questioned whether a giant operator like Yum is the right owner for the business, and several legal firms are canvassing shareholders to support an investigation into whether Yum offered a fair price.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Aug 2019: Yum Brands said that CEO Greg Creed will step down from his role in Jan 2020. He will remain a member of the board, but will be succeeded as CEO by David Gibbs, currently president & COO.
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