Yum Brands: Taco Bell to expand

Taco Bell is to open outlets in India and Spain in the near future, according to media reports. The unit's parent company, Yum Brands, plans to turn the restaurant into a globally successful concern, emulating its Pizza Hut and KFC brands. Overseas expansion will be challenging in the present economic climate and the chain will need to improve on its past track record if it is to be successful.

Mexican-themed fast food chain Taco Bell, which is predominantly located in the US and is operated by Yum Brands, is to expand into India and Spain, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing the company's chairman, David Novak. The company reportedly plans to have its first public Spanish outlet open by early 2009, while the first Indian restaurant is expected to open in April 2009. Other Yum Brands franchises KFC and Pizza Hut have successfully operated outside the US for many years, but Taco Bell has not yet managed to expand outside of its North American homeland.

Yum Brands has previously tried to expand the Taco Bell chain overseas, with a number of mostly unsuccessful ventures in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Furthermore, the chain was twice introduced to the UK, but no publicly accessible outlets remain in the country. Nevertheless, the Taco Bell brand has achieved some success in Canada and the company is looking to learn from past experiences and make the brand a global success.

Mexican food has become popular with many consumers around the world and Taco Bell has become Yum Brands' most profitable fast food restaurant in the US, with over 5,000 outlets as at the beginning of September 2008. However, fast food has been the subject of much debate among consumers and has taken a substantial share of blame for exacerbating the obesity epidemic seen in many countries. Despite such concerns, many fast food chains continue to prove popular with consumers, and the global credit crunch has seen many turn to fast food for some form of comfort during hard times.

Yum Brands is looking to expand on the good measure of success that Taco Bell has enjoyed in the US by introducing the franchise to overseas markets. With the chain moving towards saturation in its home country, Yum Brands is looking to foreign markets to drive growth. However, expansion, especially overseas, will not be easy during the current gloomy economic conditions, and the Taco Bell chain will need to learn from previous mistakes in order to make the venture a success.