Yum! to open first Taco Bell restaurant in China

by Erica Shaffer
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NEW YORK – Yum! Brands Inc.’s plans to spin off its China business at the end of the year will not affect plans to open the company’s first Taco Bell restaurant in China around the same time, Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell said recently during the J.P. Morgan Gaming, Lodging Restaurant & Leisure Management forum in Las Vegas. Greg Creed, CEO of Yum!, said the restaurant will be located in Shanghai. Yum! already operates KFC and Pizza Hut chains in China.

Brian Niccol, Taco Bell
Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell

During the forum in Las Vegas, Niccol said Taco Bell’s strong fundamentals have driven growth at the Mexican food chain. The company’s model of innovate then spend on marketing, technology and buildings works, he said. “… And what I can tell you is the China spin-off doesn't change any of that for me at Taco Bell,” Niccol said. “That is still the same expectation of my team, and it is still, I think, the same expectation Yum! has of our team at Taco Bell.

“So the positive, I think, is going forward you're going to have three global brands,” he added. “I have got two peers at other brands that I can call on to help with international expansion in every market, whether that's China or whether that is the UK, and I'm happy to say the partnership I have got with Micky [Pant] in China, we are going to finally have a Taco Bell in China probably by the end of this year.”

Yum! plans to spin off its China business around the same time the Taco Bell restaurant opens. After the spin-off, Yum! China will become a franchisee of Yum! Brands in mainland China. The Shanghai-based business will have exclusive rights to KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

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