Taco Bell’s foray into the Aussie market ended in a whimper when the last of the few outlets it opened Down Under closed without much fuss back in 2003.
However, with Mexican food back in favour and the chain doing phenomenally well in the US, there are reports that it may re-enter the market and try entice Aussies away from burgers and pizza.
Yum Brands, who owns Taco Bell (alongside KFC and Pizza Hut), has just reported $US10 billion in Taco Bell sales in the US where “half the population eats Taco Bell once a month”.
Speaking in the US, Yum Brands’ CEO, Greg Creed, said the Mexican fast-food chain was the highlight of the group which he credited to the fact many of the outlets were run by franchisees.
“We’re going to do almost $10 billion in sales at Taco Bell in the US,” Creed told investors. “Half the US population eats Taco Bell once a month. The average people comes every 11 days.
“Breakfast has been a really big win for us [at Taco Bell],” Creed said. “We had 14 percent transaction growth in breakfast in the last quarter.”
It should also be added that the US have a huge Latino population that, arguably, are walk-up starts for Latino-inspired fast food.
Although Creed never specifically mentioned the Australian market he believed Yum’s next goal was significant global expansion and had plans for 1000 Taco Bells in 40 countries.
A return to the Aussie market would be made easier, as the chain could piggyback on its KFC and Pizza Hut outlets. However, it would face stiff competition from the likes of Mad Mex and Guzman Y Gomez who’ve stolen a Mexican march in the local market and play heavily on the “healthy” aspect of its food.
Another pressing problem for Yum in the US is the struggling Pizza Hut business. Franchisees in Australia have also complained they’re battling to make a dollar as all players play the price war to win customers.
“We’ve got to make [Pizza Hut] more relevant and distinctive,” Creed said, stressing the importance of putting in place improvements to make it easier to get pizzas to consumers. “People want easier and better.
“The proof is, we turned around our KFC US business, which two years ago everyone had written off,” Creed said. “We can do the same for Pizza Hut. I think it’s a real growth story.”