18 Apr 2018

Taco Bell poised to enter NZ market by 2020

12:35 pm on 18 April 2018

Cleanse your intestines: the fast food outlet Taco Bell could make landfall in New Zealand in the next 24 months.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell Photo: 123RF

Yesterday the brand's operator, Restaurant Brands, announced a mammoth $35.5 million net profit after tax - up nearly a third on the previous year's take of $26m.

Restaurant Brands operates a number of fast food chains, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Carls Junior.

While the company saw strong growth in its New Zealand operation - particularly from its KFC and Starbucks franchises - the stars of the show came from abroad.

Its Australian arm, which recently acquired 19 KFC franchises in New South Wales, increased its group sales by more than 50 percent, taking in a touch under $140m.

The company's Pacific operations - it operates Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchises in Hawaii and two other Pacific territories, which were only acquired last year - had total group sales of nearly $170m.

Overall, group sales were up by $243m, or 49 percent, to $741m.

Restaurant Brands' chief executive, Russell Creedy, said based on Taco Bell's strong performance overseas, the time may be ripe to bring it to New Zealand.

"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when - and I think that's really related to the Taco Bell organisation signing off on being happy that all those support and supply chain issues ... the formula is right, so that when it does land in New Zealand it's successful.

"I can see it being in the not too distant future, a year or two, and I'm looking forward to it."

Expanding its overseas operations was a priority, Mr Creedy said.

Thus far its Australian operations were limited mainly to New South Wales, and there was a lot of room for growth across the Tasman.

He also said the success of its Hawaiian franchises could provide the bedrock for entry into the lucrative US market.

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