Yum Brands Posts Earnings Beat On KFC Boost, Pizza Hut Rebound

By Dave Simpson
Yum Brands Posts Earnings Beat On KFC Boost, Pizza Hut Rebound

Yum Brands Inc has beaten expectations for quarterly profit as menu refreshes and a delivery push drove better-than-expected growth at all of the restaurant operator's chains, including Pizza Hut, sending its shares to a record high.

US restaurant chains are focussing on mobile ordering and pickup services, while sprucing up their menu by adding more value meals and fresher ingredients to compete better in a crowded restaurant industry.

Yum picked up a stake in GrubHub Inc last year and bought online ordering software company QuikOrder in hopes of wooing customers looking for easier options to order in.

The company's efforts paid off in the quarter. Pizza Hut, a weak spot for the company in the past few years, grew for the first time in five quarters, while same-store sales at KFC and Taco Bell rose the most in over a year.

"While it's still early days, we found that the GrubHub customers are incremental and some customers are, therefore, trying our [Pizza Hut] products for the first time," CEO Greg Creed said.


Pizza Hut currently uses GrubHub's delivery services at over 300 location, with plans to expand further, while KFC has 2,300 outlets offering delivery and 3,500 restaurants that offer "click and collect".

Creed said the company would close underperforming dine-in Pizza Hut locations to sharpen its focus on delivery and takeaway.

Sales From Restaurants Open At Least A Year

Overall, the company's sales from restaurants open at least a year rose 5%, beating Wall Street expectations as Taco Bell and KFC grew 7% and 6%, respectively.

Growth Drivers

At KFC, growth was driven by its two for $6 mix-and-match menu and the return of its popular chicken and waffles to the US menu, while items catered to regional tastes such as the "Wrapsta Lunchbox" value promotion in Africa helped KFC deliver stronger international results.

At Taco Bell, value boxes drove growth in India, UK and Spain, the company said.


Shares And Revenue

Excluding items, the company earned 93 cents per share in the quarter that ended on June 30, trouncing expectations by 6 cents. Total revenue of $1.31 billion also beat expectations.

Shares of the Kentucky-based company rose as much as 6.3% to $119.7. They have risen 22% so far this year.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.