HAVE KIWIS GOT THE APPETITE FOR TACO BELL?
June 2011 -Restaurant Brands has announced that it is evaluating the Taco Bell chain to add to its KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut operations in New Zealand
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Taco Bell serves Mexican-style fast foods, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and other speciality items and has around 5,800 restaurants in the US.
Restaurant Brands has owned the New Zealand rights to the Taco Bell brand for some years. It announced in 2001 that it was planning to launch the chain in New Zealand although it would be ‘some time’ before the time was right. At that time, Restaurant Brands was still digesting its acquisition of Eagle Boys, which was later felt to be an expensive purchase. Rather than ridding itself of a competitor for Pizza Hut, it spawned a new one in Hell Pizza.
Mexican food has never been part of the mainstream fast food menu in New Zealand, with previous efforts at establishing chains, such as Taco Pronto, failing to launch. Taco Bell has found it difficult to gain traction in any market outside North America, with failed attempts in markets as diverse as China, Poland, Singapore, the UK and even Mexico itself. Taco Bell opened in Australia in 1997 with a stand-alone store and a few store-within-a-store concepts in KFC branches, but by 2005 they had all gone.
Taco Bell is a subsidiary of the US company Yum Brands Inc. which also operates or licenses KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W Restaurants.
Even if Taco Bell comes to New Zealand, it will not necessarily offer opportunities to would-be franchisees. Restaurant Brands tends to own all its own outlets rather than franchising them, although it has recently franchised seven existing Pizza Hut outlets. In the 12 months to 23rd May 2011, Restaurant Brands reported reduced sales in its Starbucks and Pizza Hut stores, while recording increases in KFC. Sales were affected by store closures in Christchurch.
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