Yum China began in 1987 with the first KFC restaurant opening in Beijing. Since then, the company has grown to more than 7,700 restaurants in more than 1,100 cities with 420,000 employees across the mainland.
“KFC was one of the first foreign brands to provide Chinese consumers with a window to the West and was quickly followed by Pizza Hut. Both brands are firmly embedded in the memories of an entire generation of Chinese consumers. Even today, as we expand our presence to smaller cities, KFC is often the first foreign restaurant brand experienced by Chinese people,” CEO Micky Pant said in a statement. “I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved over the past 30 years. We could not have done this without the support of our customers, partners and employees, and we are extremely grateful for their contribution to Yum China’s story.”
And in January, Yum China and Taco Bell Corp. opened the first Taco Bell restaurant near Shanghai’s central business district.
But KFC is what started it all for Yum China, and the brand continues to drive growth and innovation for the company. KFC is leading Yum China’s charge into digital technology, and the company has invested heavily in cashless payment systems and facial recognition payments. KFC also has benefited from the rapid growth of delivery by becoming the number one online restaurant operator in terms of sales and the single largest delivery brand in China, according to the company. By the end of August, Yum China had more than 5,100 restaurants across China offering delivery services and more than 120 million loyalty members.
“With ongoing urbanization, a burgeoning middle class and significant investment in infrastructure, we believe there is an incredible opportunity to expand our business in China,” Joey Wat, president and COO, said in a statement. “Yum China’s journey continues and we have a clear strategy for growth.”