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Yum CEO on Taco Bell’s Success: ‘There’s No Silver Bullet’

Erika Adams
Yum CEO on Taco Bell’s Success: ‘There’s No Silver Bullet’

Yum! Brands reported another quarter of overall positive same-store sales growth and system-wide revenue growth on Thursday, capping off what has been a widely successful fiscal year for the company.

Both KFC and Taco Bell posted quarterly same-store sales growth, while Pizza Hut’s same-store sales were flat. Not surprisingly, Taco Bell came out ahead as the brand reporting the highest quarterly revenue growth (9 percent) and same-store sales growth (6 percent) for the company.

“There’s no silver bullet,” Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, when asked to explain Taco Bell’s success. “That team, led by [President of Taco Bell North America] Julie Masino, is just doing a great job across the board.”

Creed said that Taco Bell is winning in every category that it competes. The brand is a leader on value, technology innovation, and franchisees are happy with the restaurant-level margins that Taco Bell delivers. Taco Bell’s system-wide operating profit margin was 31.9 percent in 2018.

Taco Bell opened 151 new restaurants in the fourth quarter and ended the year with 7,072 total restaurants in the system.

The chain also officially announced its nationwide delivery partnership with Grubhub today. Grubhub now powers delivery for 4,000 of Taco Bell’s restaurants in the U.S., fulfilling a plan that has been in the works since Yum announced its $200 million investment in Grubhub in February 2018.

Yum shares were trading down 1.81 percent immediately after the call.

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