KFC to open 75,000 units worldwide, pilot plant-based chicken

The quick service chain’s growth strategy will be driven primarily by the popularity of the new KFC Chicken Sandwich, launched earlier this year, and a pilot program that will test plant-based chicken in eight markets.

Doughman Headshot3 Headshot
(KFC Corporation)
(KFC Corporation)

KFC announced plans to triple the number of restaurant locations worldwide in coming years, the Yum Brands chain revealed during Yum Global Investor Day on May 25. 

The quick service chain’s growth strategy will be driven primarily by the popularity of the new KFC Chicken Sandwich, launched earlier this year, and a pilot program that will test plant-based chicken in eight markets.

In an April earnings call, executives at Yum Brands said that the KFC Chicken Sandwich is selling at twice the volume compared to previous versions.

Beyond Fried Chicken

Following a successful trial of Beyond Fried Chicken last year, the chicken chain will now begin an active roll-out of the brand’s first plant-based chicken to eight markets globally. 

KFC says the meat alternative “looks and tastes like KFC's world-famous fried chicken, but with the attributes of plant-based meat.” They’ve tweaked the soy-based recipe to more accurately mimic the taste and texture of real chicken, which will be sold battered and fried.

“We’re definitely seeing customer increase interest in plant-based proteins in North America, Europe and Asia,” a KFC representative said during investor day. “It’s broad-reaching and we’re excited about the opportunity.”

Strong growth potential

The quick service restaurant chain plans to triple in size, from 25,292 to 75,000 locations, in the coming years. 

Most of the growth will likely come from overseas markets, such as India, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East, the chain said. Over 90% of growth for the brand in the past five years occurred outside of the U.S., with 70% of profits coming from outside of the U.S. and Canada.

“Driving this expected growth will be emerging markets like Africa, existing but interpenetrated markets like Europe and Asia and a return to positive net development in the U.S. this year for the first time in over 15 years,” BTIG analyst Peter Saleh told QSR Magazine.

“Looking ahead, we believe a return to historical development levels is key to sustaining Yum! Brands’ current trajectory.”

In the first quarter of 2021, KFC saw a worldwide systems sales growth of 11% and opened 409 new restaurants in 50 countries.

Like what you just read?  Sign up now for free to receive the Poultry Future Newsletter
Page 1 of 93
Next Page