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Taco Bell accelerates international growth, aims for $20 billion in annual sales


A Taco Bell restaurant opened in Beijing, August 21, 2020.

Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

Taco Bell’s growth is increasing outside the U.S. with 25% opening international restaurants within the last 2 years.

The Yum BrandsOn Tuesday, the chain revealed that it had opened its 100th location in Spain. Although the chain stated that it is on pace to open 1,000 units internationally, it didn’t share any timeline. About 8% of Taco Bell’s 7,427 restaurants had been opened outside of the U.S. by 2020.

Taco Bell is a household name in its native market. Many of its loyal customers even got married at their Las Vegas store. Vegetarians are a popular choice, as they express dismay at the lack of certain menu items. helped bring back its potato options last year.The U.S. chain still managed to rebound from the pandemic better than Yum’s other big brands KFC and Pizza Hut. Taco Bell sales were affected by the loss of morning and late-night customers.

Yum doesn’t report Taco Bell sales figures for Taco Bell, but Yum has reported systemwide growth in Pizza Hut/KFC by country. The fourth quarter saw a 4% increase in sales. Taco Bell reported same-store sales growth8.8% in all its locations

Julie Felss Masino (international president of Taco Bell), stated that they are currently on track for 1,000 stores and this is something we can achieve in the near future.

She said that Taco Bell CEO Mark King had set a target for $20 billion annually in revenue. International growth was an essential component of that goal.

After two years of running Taco Bell’s U.S. operations following the departure of Brian Niccol, Felss Masino was appointed head of Taco Bell International Business in January 2020. Chipotle Mexican Grill. Her leadership has seen Taco Bell’s international business division focus on several markets, including India, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and India.

Taco Bell’s global strategy involves betting on digital order. Online customers account for 60% of all transactions in the United Kingdom. This chain opened digitally-only restaurants and locations with dedicated pick-up areas for delivery drivers.

“This is what easy and accessible branding is all about,” Felss Masino explained.

All international Taco Bell restaurants are managed by franchisees, which is a departure from the U.S. operation. Some franchisees are long-standing Yum employees, operating KFC or Pizza Hut locations in their home countries.

“We’ve worked with our franchise partner to get to scaling very quickly,” Felss Masino explained. Scale benefits consumers as the brand is perceived to be larger and they feel a greater part of it. Marketing can sometimes do more in the market than we realize.

Felss Masino stated that Yum’s size and experience has helped Taco Bell accelerate its global growth. Yum, the number of restaurants in which Yum operates is greater than any other company. In 2021, Yum opened more than 4,100 locations worldwide — that’s higher than the number of Tim Hortons locations in Canada.

Yum’s shares rose 14% during the past twelve months giving the company an estimated market value of $35.5 million.