“Aggressive” Taco Bell Australia growth plans revealed

By Nick Hall | 12 Jul 2019 View comments

Iconic US chain Taco Bell is set for major expansion Down Under, with more than 60 new stores earmarked to open before 2024. The Taco Bell Australia growth plans were revealed after an announcement from operator Restaurant Brands New Zealand (Restaurant Brands).

“Our newest brand, Taco Bell presents many exciting opportunities which we are eager to get underway,” Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy told shareholders on Wednesday.

The group leader revealed that a wealth of new agreements had bolstered both international expansion and the aggressive Taco Bell Australia growth plans.

“We have signed a development agreement to bring this iconic brand to New Zealand and New South Wales and ACT in the Australian market,” Creedy said.

“Our plans are already progressing with the first stores expected to open during the 2019 calendar year. This will be followed by an aggressively-paced rollout with more than 60 stores planned to open across Australasia by 2024.”

Results

2019 proved to be highly fruitful year for the Australian KFC and Taco Bell franchise operator. Chief executive Russel Creedy revealed that 18 new Australian KFC acquisitions had secured a record $794m total group sales result; an increase of $53m or 7.2 per cent on previous year.

“This saw the KFC Australia business deliver strong sales of AU$178 million, an increase of 27.8 per cent,” Creedy said.

The 2020 year has already started well for Restaurant Brands. The first quarter produced strong same store sales results across all three operating divisions of Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Creedy said the group’s Taco Bell Australia growth, as well subsequent launch in New Zealand was not expected to significantly impact future results.

“Looking ahead, while the introduction of the Taco Bell brand to New Zealand, New South Wales and ACT is not expected to have a material effect on the Group’s result in FY20 it is another important step forward in the Group’s overall expansion strategy for the region.”

Finaccess acquisition

It’s been a monumental few months for the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchise operator.

In April, Restaurant Brands Group’s growth plans were significantly bolstered with investment company Finaccess Capital completing a partial takeover.

The investment business, which is subsidiary of Mexican company, Grupo Finaccess, successfully achieved a 75 per cent shareholding in the group.

“Through our initial discussions it quickly became clear that Finaccess had been following us for some time and recognised the existing and future potential the business had to offer,” outgoing chairman, Ted van Arkel told shareholders.

“I have been impressed with the depth of industry and market knowledge that the Finaccess team bring to the table and which I believe will be of enormous benefit to Restaurant Brands in this next phase of the company’s growth.”

Restaurant Brands Group executive reshuffle

The end of financial year saw a complete reshuffle of the Restaurant Brands New Zealand team.

Director Hamish Stevens retired, with van Arkel stepping down as chairman and Finaccess Capital head José Parés assuming the role.

“It is pleasing to be passing the baton to a new chair who shares our vision for Restaurant Brands and has the skills and drive required to meet the next set of challenges,” van Arkel said.

“José and the new board are strongly supportive of current management and the continuation of the company’s growth strategies.”

Taco Bell Australia growth

Parés revealed that, in addition to steering the Taco Bell Australia growth, he was actively seeking expansion for all of the group’s brands.

“As we begin this next phase of Restaurant Brands’ journey, we see significant opportunity to build upon this success and accelerate the company’s growth plans,’ Parés said.

“We remain certain that there is considerable opportunity to build on the positive momentum of recent years by accelerating the pace of growth. This will include the roll out of Taco Bell stores in New Zealand and New South Wales Australia, continued investment in new store builds and transformations for our key brands, further KFC acquisitions within Australia, and an intention to acquire a presence on the US mainland.”