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Edited Transcript of YUM earnings conference call or presentation 1-May-19 12:15pm GMT

Q1 2019 Yum! Brands Inc Earnings Call

LOUISVILLE May 1, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Yum! Brands Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 12:15:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript


Corporate Participants


* David W. Gibbs

YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO

* Greg Creed

YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director

* Keith Robert Siegner

YUM! Brands, Inc. - VP of IR & Corporate Strategy and Treasurer


Conference Call Participants


* Brian John Bittner

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst

* Christopher Thomas O'Cull

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst

* David E. Tarantino

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Co-Director of Research and Senior Research Analyst

* Dennis Geiger

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst of Restaurants

* John Stephenson Glass

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD

* John William Ivankoe

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Restaurant Analyst

* Sara Harkavy Senatore

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst




Operator [1]


Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Yum! Brands First Quarter 2019 Earnings Release Call. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to Keith Siegner, Vice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Strategy and Treasurer. Please go ahead, sir.


Keith Robert Siegner, YUM! Brands, Inc. - VP of IR & Corporate Strategy and Treasurer [2]


Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. On our call today are Greg Creed, our CEO; David Gibbs, our President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer; and Dave Russell, our Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller. Following remarks from Greg and David, we'll open the call to questions.

Before we get started, I'd like to remind you that this conference call includes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to future events and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those statements. All forward-looking statements should be considered in conjunction with the cautionary statements in our earnings release and the risk factors included in our filings with the SEC. In addition, please refer to our earnings releases and relevant sections of our filings with the SEC to find disclosures and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial numbers that may be used on today's call.

Please note the following regarding our basis of presentation for today's call. First, all system sales results exclude the impact of foreign currency. Second, Pizza Hut Division and worldwide system sales and net new unit growth include the benefit of the increasing units in the fourth quarter of 2018 related to our strategic alliance with Telepizza. Same-store sales growth reflects the inclusion of Telepizza in the prior year base. Third, core operating profit growth figures exclude the impact of foreign currency and special items.

Fourth, the lease accounting standard was prospectively adopted on January 1, 2019. As a reminder, this is a GAAP-required change resulting in the recognition of operating lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet. We do not expect a change in our income statement or cash flows as a result of this accounting change. And last, please note that 2019 results will include a 53rd week.

We're broadcasting this conference call via our website. This call is also being recorded and will be available for playback. Please be advised that if you ask a question, it will be included in both our live conference and in any future use of the recording.

We'd like to make you aware of the following changes in upcoming Yum! investor events. Disclosures pertaining to outstanding debt in our restricted group capital structure will be provided at the time of the Form 10-Q filing. Second quarter 2019 earnings will be released on August 1, 2019, with a conference call on the same day.

Now I'd like to turn it over to Mr. Greg Creed.


Greg Creed, YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director [3]


Thank you, Keith, and good morning, everyone. This quarter marks the start of the third and final year in our transformation of Yum! Brands. We're pleased to report a strong start to the year with first quarter system sales growth of 8%, including 4% system sales growth and 7% net new unit growth. Focus on our 4 growth drivers, increased collaboration and our unrivaled culture continue to fuel these results.

As usual, David and I will walk you through the lens of these 4 key growth drivers. I'll provide an update on our Relevant, Easy and Distinctive Brands or, as we say, R.E.D. for short, as well as Unrivaled Culture & Talent. Then David will discuss Bold Restaurant Development and Unmatched Franchise Operating Capability.

I'll begin with our 3 R.E.D. brands. In the first quarter, KFC Division delivered system sales growth of 9% with same-store sales growth of 5% and net new unit growth of 6%. This global powerhouse saw widespread strength coupled with standout performances in some of our larger markets as well as a tailwind from lapping the distribution disruption in the U.K. last year. Internationally, callouts for the quarter include Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Africa and China. And you'll notice as I give some details, there are consistent themes: value and innovation working well together.

Japan and Indonesia led the way, each with double-digit same-store sales growth. Japan's 15% same-store sales growth was driven by the well-received share pack as well as lunch value deals and hot and honey chicken on-the-bone innovation. Indonesia's 12% same-store sales growth was driven by value and innovation with Big Box value counterbalanced by the Kombo Super Star innovation.

Australia same-store sales grew 6% on the back of the dual-layer value combined with core product news. And Africa, where 10% same-store sales growth came as a result of strong value promotions, such as the Streetwise mix, coupled with an innovative Zinger Chutney sandwich. Importantly, these markets maintain momentum in development while generating this strong same-store sales growth.

Now to KFC U.S. where same-store sales grew 2%. We started the year off with a continued focus on value by introducing a new channel for a la carte menu items: offering our original Famous Bowls for just $3 and 2 Chicken Littles for $3. Both offers drove transactions for the quarter and allowed customers flexibility to build their own meals. We then followed this up with new options in both the $5 Fill Up and $20 family meal offerings.

Operational enhancements, such as a new menu board design and delivery through Grubhub, each positively contributed to first quarter sales. We now have 2,200 KFCs offering delivery and 3,200 restaurants available for click and collect on the Grubhub marketplace. We're excited about the operational ease and the increased check growth for our franchisees, and we look forward to the nationwide launch of KFC delivery in the U.S. later this year. Lastly, KFC continued its campaign of distinctive and truly breakthrough marketing from the KFC Innovations Lab.

Moving on to our Pizza Hut Division. In the U.S., same-store sales were flat and system sales declined 1% due to a net new unit decline of 1% as we continued to transform our asset base from dine-in to off-premise-focused assets. Pizza Hut U.S. continued to provide compelling value to customers by maintaining our $7.99 Large 2-Topping pizza deal and the $5 Lineup. The $5 Lineup, which features favorites like a medium 1-topping pizza, garlic knots, wings and Cinnabon Mini Rolls, helped drive traffic and provides a pipeline for future product innovation. In March, we added a new teammate to the Lineup with our Pepperoni P'ZONE, ensuring our best innovation is accessible at a great price.

As we've continued to reiterate, for both the U.S. and the international businesses, sustainable improvements in sales growth will remain a slow build as we update and reposition the asset base and make the messaging more distinctive. We are encouraged by the steps we've taken to enhance assets, provide value offerings and improve operations to help our franchisees succeed.

With that in mind, we are excited about our partnership with Grubhub and the opportunity to leverage the Grubhub marketplace as an additional sales channel for Pizza Hut. We ended the first quarter with over 200 locations on the Grubhub marketplace. While customers are placing the orders on the Grubhub website, Pizza Hut delivery drivers are completing the orders.

Now on to Pizza Hut International. System sales grew 13% in the quarter, including a benefit from the addition of the Telepizza units in Q4 of last year, while same-store sales were flat. We were pleased to see same-store sales growth in places like Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong. As one example, Malaysia delivered a very strong same-store sales growth at 6% with their dominant value offering a buy 1 get 1 promotion.

In regards to development, we continue to find success in our off-premise-focused asset options, including delcos, fast casual delcos and Express units. As we mentioned during our previous earnings call and at our Investor Day last year, the gap between dine-in channel sales and off-premise is significant with the U.S. and international seeing roughly 7-point and 6-point differentials between the 2 channels, respectively. In order to enhance the assets we view as the future of the brand, we are leveraging best practices from our strongest markets to provide targeted compelling options in our off-premise-focused asset options.

Last but not least, Taco Bell where system sales grew 7% with same-store sales growth of 4% and net new unit growth of 3%. Encouragingly, the U.S. same-store sales grew a healthy 5%, though Taco Bell International caused the division to round down to 4%.

Starting with the U.S. We began the quarter by showcasing $1 and $5 value and finished the quarter with innovation. Taco Bell continued to double down on value in the U.S. with the $1 Grande Burritos and the Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch box. Our famous Nacho Fries came back for -- again, for a limited time and were so popular that yet again, 1 in 4 orders contained fries.

We then finished the quarter off strong by introducing a new limited time offering: Steak Rattlesnake Fries, our signature seasoned fries with marinated steak kicked up with a bit of creamy jalapeño sauce. Of course, Nacho Fries are cool to eat but they're also awesomely spicy.

The official launch of Taco Bell delivery has been very encouraging. Having launched with marketing support in February, franchisees are all-in on this major initiative and are very excited about delivery as an opportunity to drive incremental sales and transactions. Given it's early days, we aren't going to provide specific data, but I will say that both traffic and check saw benefits from the launch.

Customers are also loving the new way to get their favorite Taco Bell products. Feedback has been positive, plus the strength of our partnership with Grubhub has allowed for real-time feedback and learnings to continue to elevate the customer experience to even higher levels. Delivery is now live in over 4,000 Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S., and opportunistic market expansion should increase restaurant coverage over time. Additionally, click-and-collect functionality is available on all tacobell.com and Taco Bell app while we're also testing this functionality through Grubhub.

For Taco Bell International, there's a lot to be excited about. We expanded into the first new market of 2019 with the launch of Taco Bell Thailand where we hosted a launch party that generated nearly 0.5 billion impressions.

Borrowing from the U.S., we introduced value boxes around the world, which drove growth in the U.K., India and Japan. The U.K. opened its fifth restaurant in Central London and the GBP 5 Stacker Box was a success. India maintained momentum with positive same-store sales driven by the launch of their Big Bell Box. And Taco Bell's dedication to their purpose to feed people's lives with más is shining through, and we are proud of the team and our franchise partners who worked hard to bring this iconic brand to life.

Now to Unrivaled Culture & Talent. As you've heard me say before, our 2 most important assets are our brands and our people. For us, Unrivaled Culture & Talent is a true competitive advantage, and we'll continue to focus on it to fuel results and accelerate growth.

In the 140 markets where we operate, it's our 2,000 franchisees and their employees who are delivering the customer experience at KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In fact, recently in Europe, David and I launched our next-generation leadership development course for franchisees and employees called Inspiring Culture to Fuel Results. This is a program focused on building up our people to lead in a way that makes our 3 iconic brands Relevant, Easy and Distinctive from the inside out. Because of the investment we continue to make in Unrivaled Culture & Talent, we're seeing a strong progress and results on the transformation and setting a healthy foundation for sustainable growth.

In conclusion, I'm excited about the work we're doing with world-class leaders focusing on our 4 key growth drivers to build a world with more Yum!. We remain confident as we lay the foundation of our transformation strategy to maximize shareholder value.

And with that, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, David Gibbs.


David W. Gibbs, YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO [4]


Thank you, Greg, and good morning, everyone. Today, I'll discuss our first quarter results, our remaining transformation initiatives and 2 of our 4 growth drivers, Bold Restaurant Development and Unmatched Franchise Operating Capability.

To begin, our first quarter results. Consistent with our expectations, core operating profit growth increased 12%. And as Greg mentioned, we delivered system sales growth of 8%, same-store sales growth of 4% and net new unit growth of 7%. A major contributor to this success was KFC, our largest division in units and profit contribution, with 5% same-store sales growth and 6% net new unit growth driving 9% system sales growth in the quarter.

It's great to see KFC off with such a strong start under new CEO, Tony Lowings. They're leaning in on same-store sales growth on top of what is already a development machine. Contributions to the KFC strength this quarter were broad-based. Japan, Indonesia and Africa, which together represent 9% of KFC's system sales, performed particularly well. Easier laps at KFC U.K. were also beneficial. And not to be left out, Taco Bell had another solid quarter with 7% system sales growth driven by 4% same-store sales growth, including 5% in the U.S.

As a reminder, our first quarter results are lapping the distribution disruptions in our KFC U.K. business in 2018. We estimated that 2018 same-store sales growth at KFC was negatively impacted by 1% in both Q1 and Q2, thereby having a full year negative impact of 50 basis points for KFC and 25 basis points for consolidated Yum!.

Additionally, we estimated the negative impact on KFC's 2018 core operating profit growth was 5% for the first quarter, 3% for the second quarter and 2% for the full year. For Yum! core operating profit, the impact was 3% for the first quarter, 5% for the second quarter and 1% for the full year.

Now I'd like to discuss our guidance. We remain confident in our long-term growth outlook. As it pertains specifically to 2019, our full year core operating profit growth guidance of low double digits is slightly above our longer-term algorithm for high single-digit growth in 2020 and beyond. This upside is primarily a result of 3 factors: first, the roll-off of special media spending in 2018 related to the Pizza Hut Transformation Agreement; second, the roll-off of the KFC U.S. Acceleration Agreement expenses; and third, the expected recovery of the KFC U.K. business, as we just discussed.

I'll now update you on our EPS outlook and the moving pieces that will impact our reported results versus the adjusted EPS guidance, all of which is outlined in a table within our earnings release. First, there is no change to our goal to deliver at least $3.75 in 2019 adjusted EPS, which we introduced in 2016. Second, as a reminder, the $3.75 excludes any benefit from the 53rd week in 2019, the impact of changes in FX rates, any special items and any gains or losses associated with our Grubhub investment.

We estimated the benefit of the 53rd week to 2019 and on top of the $3.75 guidance to be approximately $0.06. Our updated estimate of the impact of FX rate movements remains a $0.04 headwind to the $3.75. This is because rates have moved against us since we provided the original guidance in October of 2016. This estimated headwind is based on applying current forward rates to local currency forecast, which will undoubtedly vary over time.

First quarter 2019 special items are a $0.01 tailwind and first quarter Grubhub mark-to-market adjustments are a $0.05 headwind to the $3.75 figure, respectively. Taking these items into account, as outlined in our earnings release, the GAAP equivalent to our adjusted 2019 EPS guidance of at least $3.75 is at least $3.73.

Now turning to our transformation initiatives to be more focused, more franchised and more efficient in order to deliver more growth to our shareholders. With our target franchise mix of at least 98% having been reached in the fourth quarter of 2018 and with focus on our 4 growth drivers consistently at the heart of everything we do, I'll update you on our plans to be more efficient.

In summary, we remain on track. G&A was 1.7% of system sales in the first quarter, and this remains the appropriate target for 2019. As for CapEx, at our Investor Day, we discussed it in 3 buckets: run rate CapEx, targeted new equity units to spur additional growth that we would fund through refranchising a comparable number of units and potential strategic investments outside of the run rate that would create incremental value for shareholders and franchisees.

I'd now like to elaborate on our thinking for 2019, including 2 positive updates. First, given strong returns on new equity builds, we see attractive opportunities to increase equity unit development to spur additional growth and generate excess returns. Again, these incremental units will be funded by a corresponding increase in the number of units refranchised, so our overall equity unit count remains unchanged.

Second, we are now even more convinced there are attractive opportunities to lean in on strategic investments to generate faster growth and incremental value, particularly as it pertains to technology. Importantly, much of this strategic spend is being or will be reimbursed by our franchise partners for services related to technology.

Now of course, these initiatives will drive gross CapEx higher near term, and we now estimate our gross CapEx for 2019 will be approximately $225 million, inclusive of base CapEx, new equity builds and strategic investments in tech projects. However, on a net basis, meaning gross CapEx net of refranchising proceeds, we estimate closer to $125 million or only slightly higher than we previously discussed. Please note, 2019 does include a small incremental benefit from timing as we collect certain trailing proceeds related to our previous refranchising initiatives.

One consequence of this outlook is that CapEx may exceed depreciation and amortization over the next few years, which could push our free cash flow conversion below 100%, dependent on the absolute level of spend in a given year. To be clear, we're excited by recent returns on investments beyond our base CapEx and believe that through a measured approach, we can enhanced growth and value creation for both our franchise partners and shareholders.

As for capital return plans, our goal to return $6.5 billion to $7 billion of capital to shareholders over the 3-year period 2017 through 2019 remains firmly on track. During the first quarter, we repurchased 1.1 million shares for $106 million at an average price of $94. When combined with dividends, we have already returned $5.4 billion in over 2 years of this program.

Now let's discuss our growth drivers, beginning with Unmatched Franchise Operating Capability. I'll start with Taco Bell as I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 franchise owners' forum, where franchisees from all over the U.S. shared their enthusiasm for the brand. I'm truly impressed by the positive spirit and growth mindset of all these franchise partners.

In regards to operating initiatives, their fast and friendly obsession is all about world-class service to our customers, not simply speed and efficiency. This is exactly why initiatives like this are so powerful. It's because of efforts like this by our franchise partners, restaurant managers and employees that customer satisfaction and friendliness increased by 2 points year-over-year.

Lastly, during the quarter, each of our service measures improved with the highlight being transaction times dropping 9 seconds from the previous year.

At Pizza Hut, we continue to execute on our Hot, Fast and Reliable initiatives. In the U.S., we've improved our percentage of orders delivered in under 30 minutes by 3 percentage points year-over-year.

At Pizza Hut International, we're continuing to run workshops on speed and taste with our franchise partners. As a result, overall customer satisfaction scores have improved in these markets, which include India, France, Indonesia and Australia. Each increased their overall customer satisfaction score by 5% or more.

KFC continues to drive taste as a key differentiator for the brand with a focus on elevating the role of the cook. This year, we are hosting Taste Talks across the globe to ensure finger lickin' good quality in every bite. We have seen improvement across the board on sharing proven ideas and global best practices, such as Open Kitchen tours and Fast Fridays. Each of these examples show how we are leveraging our scale to adopt and share the best ideas.

Next, to Bold Restaurant Development. During the quarter, we opened 310 net new units. This represents a step-up in development from our recent historical rates, keeping us on track for 2019 to be the fourth consecutive year of increasing net new unit openings.

At KFC, strong development trends continued into 2019 with 265 net new units. We continue to see momentum in China, Asia, Russia and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the U.S., we continued to strive for positive net new unit growth while at the same time, we continued to transform our asset base to the American Showman image. We closed out the quarter with over 1,500 American Showman restaurants across the country as 65 remodels were completed in the U.S. during the quarter.

Taco Bell continued to grow in the U.S. with 23 net new units during the quarter. Among those, 4 urban and Cantina asset formats opened, including restaurants in New York and San Diego where we are seeing strong cash-on-cash returns and outperforming our closest competitors. Internationally, Taco Bell opened 10 net new units in markets such as Japan, Thailand, India and the U.K.

Lastly, I want to give an update on our international growth alliance with Telepizza. The integration is off to a great start with our transition tasks largely complete. Specifically, we're pleased Telepizza has worked closely on transferring and integrating Pizza Hut franchisees into their systems. Further, even during the most intense period for integration, Telepizza reported positive net new unit growth and has begun converting Telepizza units to the Pizza Hut brand. As a reminder, we still anticipate between 100 and 150 units may close over time due to overlap, though minimal of these closures have occurred thus far.

To summarize, the first quarter was consistent with our expectations, which included easier laps in the first half of the year. We're pleased with the results as they set us up to deliver on our commitments. With 3 category-leading iconic brands, a uniquely diversified global business and over 48,000 restaurants, Yum! is well positioned to accelerate growth and improve franchise unit economics by leveraging our massive scale and expanding digital technology and delivery. We look forward to updating you throughout the remainder of 2019.

Now the team and I are happy to take your questions.


Questions and Answers


Operator [1]


(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of John Glass of Morgan Stanley.


John Stephenson Glass, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [2]


David, can you just go back and just clarify the CapEx increases this year and potentially next year and what the difference between gross and net would be? Do you expect franchisee to contribute something to that? Or do you expect to get returns from that capital in technology because they're going to pay an incremental fee? And what is the nature -- if you could describe a little bit more just what the nature of those capital -- incremental capital investments are that would be helpful.


David W. Gibbs, YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO [3]


Sure, John. We talked about this a little bit at the Investor Day when I presented what -- the $100 million of run rate CapEx and noted that we were contemplating an increase in equity development and also that we were seeing good opportunities to invest further capital to create more shareholder value and improve the strength of our business. That's pretty much how this is playing out. So the original $100 million of run rate capital hasn't really changed. What's changed is our interest in building a little bit more equity units, all of which will be -- the capital for that will all be generated by refranchising a comparable number of units. In fact, the math on that is such that -- and this is why it's such a great shareholder value-enhancing move. We get more money when we sell a store than it cost to build a new store. So we might get on average $2.5 million every time we sell a store, and it costs more like $1.5 million or less to build a new store.

So we're seeing sort of an arbitrage opportunity there to help spur development in certain parts of the country, particularly with Taco Bell where we do own a decent amount of equity stores. Some of the best examples are in your backyard in New York City, where I was a couple of weeks ago, visiting some of those great new Taco Bells that have opened. Those stores are worth substantially more than what we paid to build them. So we're going to build probably more -- 40, maybe 50 equity stores this year when the original plans were only to build 5 to 10. So that's driving some of the incremental CapEx.

And then on the other side of the equation, on strategic investments, we're looking at things like the recent acquisition we announced in the fourth quarter of QuikOrder where we bought the e-commerce provider for Pizza Hut, which I can tell you, we're just 1 quarter in, but has worked out incredibly well. I just, actually this past weekend, left the Pizza Hut franchise convention and was talking to some of the Pizza Hut franchisees there about us now owning QuikOrder. And they are really excited about our ability to create enhancements real time on that platform and just having a lot more control over their tech future.

But on the Pizza Hut platform, for example, there's a significant investment made to purchase that in Q4. It has some follow-on CapEx investment this year because there's some contingency to the purchase price. And then there's capitalized G&A that comes along with making investments in tech companies, so some of that is going to start to show up on our CapEx line.

The good news is -- as you noted, John, is we are recovering a lot of that -- a lot of our investment through the service fees that franchisees pay for these to access these platforms. Again, our commitment to the franchise community is we're going to give them the best technology at the best price. But you'll see us recover the cost of these platforms, which is why we say this is great for our franchisees, for our customers and for our shareholders. So if you break the $225 million gross down, the excess above the $100 million run rate that we had quoted before, about half of that is due to equity development and half of that is due to technology and strategic investments.


Operator [4]


Our next question comes from the line of Brian Bittner of Oppenheimer.


Brian John Bittner, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division - MD and Senior Analyst [5]


I want to talk a little bit more about KFC. Such an impressive comp, 5%, driven by that international strength. Greg, you dove into a couple of drivers in your prepared remarks, lapping the U.K. issues. And we also heard from Yum China this week. But I'm really trying to figure out more about this inflection and why it happened now and how sustainable it is. Are you really seeing the consumer outside the U.S. start to inflect here? And is your delivery initiatives you've talked about for a couple of years outside the U.S. really starting to drive some incremental momentum for you now? Just any other color you can add to that KFC momentum.


Greg Creed, YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director [6]


Yes, sure, Brian. I think it really fundamentally starts with our focus on what we call R.E.D., Relevant, Easy and Distinct. As I travel the world and meet with the KFC teams, they're amazingly focused on making sure the KFC brand is more relevant, it's more easy and more distinct. Now in some markets, we may be good at distinctive and not as good at relevant. In others, we're good at relevant but we're not as good at distinct. But I think the fact that we've got absolute just laser-like focus on making sure that each KFC brand in each country delivers on R.E.D., I think that's certainly helping.

I think secondly, as I did say in the prepared remarks, I think the value, like a pound of food for $3, which KFC U.S. ran, that may sound like simple communication. It's both distinctive and it's relevant. So I think that's great. The innovation that's happening, we are seeing a lot of great innovation, flavor innovation on existing forms and new form innovation also occurring. And then, Brian, as you rightly say, we've got delivery and click and collect. And equally, in the U.S., we're excited that later this year, we'll obviously do what Taco Bell has just done, which is put marketing muscle and effort behind delivery, which we think will accelerate that.

So it's -- there's no silver bullet. It is really doing R.E.D. incredibly well, value incredibly well, innovation incredibly well and a growing contribution from delivery. I think all of that is sustainable going forward. And that's why we remain very positive about the KFC brand.


Operator [7]


Our next question comes from the line of Sara Senatore of Bernstein.


Sara Harkavy Senatore, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [8]


I have a question about Pizza Hut, and it's sort of a 2-part question. One is I know that you're repositioning the estate, and it sounds like dine-in is still quite a bit softer than to-go. But I guess I'm -- when I think about the U.S., it's so much a carryout and delivery business that the implication is that even that business might still be sort of muted in terms of comps. And I guess I'm trying to understand is there a scenario where you're repositioning the estate but it's happening at a time when aggregators are taking away some of the growth that the pizza category has had kind of to itself for so long?

And then the related question is what are you seeing in terms of the customers on Grub -- who find you through Grub versus the Pizza Hut app? Is it -- I assume a very different customer base, as we've heard from other restaurants. But given that Pizza Hut is so well known for its -- for delivering pizza, I'm just trying to figure out to what extent the Grub orders are incremental.


Greg Creed, YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director [9]


Sure. Well, as you said, dine-in does lag by about 7 points on the sales growth line between off-premise and on-premise. And so that is obviously a headwind that we continue to have to work with. I do think the Pizza Hut brand, particularly in the U.S. and internationally, is doing a much better job at the foundations or the fundamentals. As David pointed out in his prepared remarks, temperature is improving, delivery times are getting lower. I think all of that is working. We're sustaining and we've got franchisee support to sustain obviously great value. You saw the $5 Lineup. Adding P'ZONE which is both great innovation and at $5, obviously, I think will continue to help and we will see that play out I think later in the year.

With regard to your question on aggregators, look, I think it's -- there's obviously a negative impact, but it's hard to measure what the cannibalization effect is of aggregators on Pizza Hut -- on the pizza category. I think what's exciting for us is that we still think there's obviously a huge opportunity for Pizza Hut in the $40 billion pizza delivery business to do better. But at the same time, the non-pizza delivery market in the U.S. is worth about $100 billion. It's growing at 15%, and now we're going to leverage Taco Bell and KFC to take advantage of that opportunity. So yes, a little bit of negative impact, but I see this whole opportunity of growth in delivery to be an upside for us, not a negative.

And as we've only got about 200 stores at the moment which are actually going through the Grubhub marketplace, it's not having a massive impact on our business. But I think the point you made is we are excited by the incremental customers we're seeing come through that marketplace. But obviously, the vast majority of the business is still coming through our Pizza Hut traditional business.


David W. Gibbs, YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO [10]


Yes. I mean -- and on the Grubhub pizza, I think we are encouraged that there are different customers on Grubhub versus many of the customers that use Pizza Hut directly. So we are accessing customers through their platform in some -- many cases that we wouldn't be able to access. That's why we're excited about the test.

Back to the other part of your question, Sara, on the dine-in estate. Yes, Pizza Hut in the U.S. is -- the vast majority of our business comes through the delivery/carryout channels. But still, close to half the assets are dine-in assets, and there is still a long process to take those assets, often which are in the wrong part of the trade area, and reposition them to the right part of the trade area or if they are in the right part of the trade area, oftentimes upgrading the asset to modern standards.

So the challenges of the dine-in estate are very different internationally versus the U.S. In the U.S., we already have -- 90% of our business is off-premise, but the assets are still a problem. Internationally, half of the assets are dine-in, and the business has more of a 50-50 split to it. So very healthy assets in most cases around the world though.

Before we move on to the next question, I just want to correct a comment from the prepared remarks that some of you probably caught. There was a typo. As far as the 2018 impact from the KFC U.K. supply disruption to Yum!, that impact was 1% on core operating profit in the second quarter, not the 5% that was stated. So I just want to make sure we all have the right number there.


Operator [11]


Our next question comes from the line of John Ivankoe of JPMorgan.


John William Ivankoe, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Restaurant Analyst [12]


First -- and they're 2, I think, relatively small questions. In terms of Telepizza, I mean, it has been discussed before that this transaction will be net neutral to earnings, and it actually does look like it was accretive in the first quarter. So could you make a comment on that and if there's some type of thought of what Telepizza will mean to operating income growth in fiscal '19?


David W. Gibbs, YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO [13]


We continue to believe that Telepizza will be neutral from an earnings standpoint. What you may be seeing is the increase in franchise revenues relative to expenses. Some of that is more related to QuikOrder than it is to Telepizza. But again, we think Telepizza from a long-term standpoint is a great acquisition for us. We love their management team and their ability to leverage them over our existing markets and excited about how the integration is going and what it means for us from a growth potential. But there -- the impact in Q1 was flat. There really was no positive profit impact from Telepizza.


Operator [14]


Our next question comes from the line of Dennis Geiger of UBS.


Dennis Geiger, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst of Restaurants [15]


Wondering if you could talk a bit more about the QSR promotional or the QSR value environment that you're seeing in the U.S. and if that's had any impact on your value strategy for the balance of the year depending on whether you think the industry becomes less promotional or not. It seems like your brands remain as focused on value as ever currently. So do you think there could be greater benefits as that gap to peers on value increases? And I guess just kind of related to that, maybe if you could quickly comment just on the importance of franchisee buy-in on value that you're seeing, which it seems like your system is seeing better buy-in from franchisees here than most.


Greg Creed, YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director [16]


Yes, sure. And so there are 2 parts to the question. Look, obviously, the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape. We all saw the GDP numbers for Q1 from the government. Look, I also do think, though, there is some sort of bifurcation going on in the marketplace, which is there are certainly people that are making a lot of money and there are certainly people where value will always remain incredibly important. And so I think that our focus on, as we said earlier, building this Relevant, Easy and Distinct, part of being relevant is to make sure we've got the right value proposition for every customer we've got in the marketplace. So we're going to focus on value. We're going to focus on innovation. We're going to focus on delivery and click and collect, as we've talked about.

And it really is -- sort of part, I guess, of your second question, which is the ability for us to sustain value on all 3 brands is predicated on our ability to get franchisee alignment. And I think what David and I are fundamentally focused on is making sure that at the core, franchise unit-level economics are getting better. And as they get better, then obviously franchisees will hang in on value, they will invest in new assets, refurbishing assets, they will support innovation.

And so yes, I think the economy is in pretty good shape in the U.S. There are people who are benefiting, people who are not benefiting. We are going to stay on value. We are going to stay on innovation. We are going to stay on building these Relevant, Easy and Distinct brands. And I am really excited that the brands have worked incredibly hard with their franchise partners to ensure that we can sustain this sort of what I call really strong model going forward.


Operator [17]


Our next question comes from the line of David Tarantino of Baird.


David E. Tarantino, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Co-Director of Research and Senior Research Analyst [18]


Just one clarification then a question. On the clarification, David, can you tell us what tax rate you've embedded in your $3.75-plus target and whether that's changed? And then my real question is on KFC development. Globally, that number was very strong. And if I look back at the history, it's usually Q1 tends to be the low point for the year for the number of units opened. So I wanted to ask, is this kind of a timing issue where you're starting to smooth out the openings across the year? Or is this kind of real momentum in the development cycle? And can we expect that kind of step-up to continue as we look at the rest of the year?


David W. Gibbs, YUM! Brands, Inc. - President, COO & CFO [19]


Sure, David. On the tax rate question, the guidance for 2019 is 20% to 22%. And despite the low tax rate in Q1, we still feel like that's the appropriate guidance for the year. If you look back at past years, we do have a little bit of cadence of having a lower tax rate in Q1 driven mostly by share-based compensation that tends to get exercised in the first quarter.

Then on the second question on the KFC global development, I mean, we've been consistent in saying our goal is to ramp up the pace of development. We're pleased with the progress we've made. Obviously, Q1 in recent history was a record quarter for us in terms of net new units. And I do think the development momentum is widespread and will continue. We are confident that we can hit new highs this year versus last year. It isn't really sort of a timing issue. There's a good pipeline of deals for this year and for future years. You saw a lot of the upside, as in most previous quarters, is driven by Yum China. And as I've talked about, they're happy with the returns they're getting for KFC China. So lots of reasons to be optimistic about global development.


Operator [20]


Our final question will come from the line of Chris O'Cull of Stifel.


Christopher Thomas O'Cull, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [21]


Could you guys talk about how customers are using the KFC delivery in the 2,200 stores in the U.S.? I mean what dayparts are consumers using it? Is it more large party orders, individual orders? Does it over or under index with bone-in or boneless product? Any insights into how U.S. consumers are using delivery at KFC could be helpful.


Greg Creed, YUM! Brands, Inc. - CEO & Non-Independent Director [22]


Sure, Chris. It tends to be more focused at dinner. It tends to be larger packs. I always jokingly say that I think the Colonel 60 years ago invented the bucket realizing that one day we'll be delivering it because it's the perfect delivery vehicle. So I think what we're seeing is what we expected to see, which is sort of a focus on dinner, a focus on big packs, bone-in and obviously, it's incremental.

And as I said, I think the bucket is an incredible delivery device. It really delivers piping hot, great-tasting food. And I think that's also a benefit that the KFC customer is currently seeing, which is getting restaurant-quality food delivered to your house. So all going well and looking forward to the launch of KFC delivery in the U.S. later in the year, which I think will be an exciting time. And we think, obviously, positive things will come out of that as well.

Okay. Just some closing remarks. So first of all, I want to thank you -- thank everyone for being on the call today. Second, I am pleased that we're off to a strong start in 2019. In fact, when I look at the metrics that best indicate the underlying health of the business, so those without noise and special items or mark-to-market on our Grub -- our investment in Grubhub, I think there's a lot to be excited about. We delivered 8% system sales growth, 12% core operating profit growth and 18% EPS growth. So I'm very confident that our enviable business, underpinned by unrivaled culture, will deliver lasting growth that maximizes shareholders value in 2019 and beyond. Thanks for being on the call with us today.


Operator [23]


Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. This does conclude today's conference call. You may now disconnect, and have a wonderful day.