Yum China Holdings, Inc., backed by private equity firm Primavera Capital Group and Ant Financial Services Group, has opened China’s first Taco Bell restaurant in China today, as the fast-food franchise operator pushes for faster growth in the world’s most populous country.
The restaurant, located in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai’s Pudong district, is the result of a partnership between Yum China and Mexican cuisine chain Taco Bell Corp. Yum! Brands previously closed all four Taco Bell outlets it had in China in 2008 after unsatisfactory performance.
“We are excited to bring Taco Beel to China and open its first restaurant in a golden location in Shanghai,” said Micky Pant, chief executive officer of Yum China, in a statement. “Chinese consumers wants to have the best experience available globally, while Taco Bell is an exciting brand anywhere in the world.”
Yum China completed its separation from parent Yum Brands and began a U.S. trading debut as an independent company two months ago, following a US$460 million capital injection from Primavera and Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial in September.
Now as a licensee of Yum! Brands in mainland China with exclusive rights to KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, Yum China said it plans to triple its restaurant count to 20,000 in the next three years from 7,300 currently.
Taco Bell currently operates 7,000 restaurants globally, with 300 located outside of the U.S. in 26 countries. The company plans to increase its network to 10,000 in 2022, with China an important market to lead its expansion.
The companies said the Shanghai Taco Bell’s menu is localized to add Chinese flavors and provides free wifi, electronic food ordering and mobile payment options.