Yum! Brands provides a feast for the east

Updated: 2010-06-30 12:01
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Yum! Brands - the US-based parent company of restaurant brands that include Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell and Long John Silver's – is opening another seven KFC restaurants on the Chinese mainland, Dickie Oliver, vice president of VP Global Infrastructure for Yum! Brands, told Britain's

Of course, opening seven new outlets in China in a week is nothing new to either KFC or Yum!. Yum! has been opening nearly one new KFC every day on the mainland since it launched in China. And the Chinese Division of Yum!, based in Shanghai, has been developing separately since the beginning of 2005 due it its size, unique strength and overall development.

According to Yum!, this is the ninth consecutive year that the company has opened more than 1,000 new restaurants outside the United States – something that Oliver believes is critically important to the future of Yum!

"When you look at Yum! from a global perspective, the key to our continued success and earnings and revenue growth is going to be that expansion," he told during an interview at the recent Next Generation Retail Summit in California. "If you look at Yum! China going from 3,000 stores today to 5,000 and up to 10,000 stores, and the amount of infrastructure, technology systems, people capabilities and know-how required to do that, it means we are going to have to continue to build on all of that. And that is going to be an enormous challenge," Oliver said. "So we continue to focus on those areas and build internal know-how because part of our strategy is to build in-country capability."

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With more than 1 million Yum! employees around the world, Oliver is also conscious of tapping into the collective talents of the company's workforce.

"There has to be a lot of ideas out there, right?" We shouldn't be reinventing the wheel every time we have a challenge come up before us," he said. "At the end of the day our business isn't that complex. We sell chicken, we make pizzas and we make tacos, so we shouldn't have to figure out the best way to do that multiple times."

Yum! China currently is gearing up to introduce new technologies to their 3,000-plus company stores and is in the process of selecting a US company from Boston to supply those technologies.

"So what you've got is Chinese business requirements being answered by an American company, and we are trying to facilitate that entire discussion, requirements, GAAP analysis, what have you. One of my employees on the business side of architecture has spent the past two weeks in Shanghai facilitating that discussion and being a part of that discussion," Oliver said.