KFC is expected to open its first restaurant in Tibet next year, as part of a regional push that will see it expand in China and shake off food scares and marketing blunders that have severely dented sales in that country.
The move comes as Yum – which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands –prepares to spin off its business in China. The China unit aims to roughly triple its restaurant count to 20,000 and bring in more franchise partners.A franchisee will open the KFC restaurant in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, offering its American-style fried chicken in the first half of 2016, parent company Yum Brands Inc said in a statement.
Yum has been trying to win back customers after negative publicity stemming from food supply controversies. In 2014, a supplier to both Yum and McDonald’s apologised for selling expired meat to the chains. It was one of a series of food scandals that appear to have affected sales.
KFC pulled its plans to set up shop in Tibet more than a decade ago, saying in 2004 it was not “economically feasible” to enter the region. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader and a staunch vegetarian, opposed Yum’s plans at the time.
As China’s economy stutters, Yum’s 6,900 China restaurants face the challenge of luring diners who increasingly are looking for healthier, local options and going online to hunt for deals.
Yum executives are hosting an investor meeting in Dallas on Thursday, where they are expected to unveil more details about the China spinoff planned for late 2016.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report
Source Credit: The Guardian