Tricon Says Ads, Marketing Have Boosted Sales

CHICAGO — Tricon Global Restaurants said that sales at Taco Bell and KFC have shown marked improvement in recent weeks following the launch of new advertising campaigns and menu items. The Louisville, Ky.-based company said U.S. same-restaurant sales for its three chains, which also includes Pizza Hut, rose 2% in the first four weeks of the fourth quarter, most of which followed the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

“The senior management moves we made at KFC and Taco Bell are definitely paying off,” CEO David Novak said in a conference call this week, adding he expects to end the year with a positive fourth quarter for its burger-fighting trio.

Novak addressed speculation that Tricon might acquire another non-burger sandwich chain, saying the company planned to invest most of its $1 billion-plus cash flow into its three existing brands while considering the possibility “down the road.” He said Tricon expects to open a record number of international restaurants this year, surpassing the 929 it opened in 2000, and that it “expects to maintain that level for the next several years.”

Taco Bell, fighting for a major success with revived menu offerings and its “Think outside the bun” ad facelift, Thursday unveiled the full launch of a co-marketing campaign with Microsoft’s Xbox, from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco. This week, KFC in Canada launched “Chicken Scratch,” an $80 million dollar in-store scratch-and-win promotion featuring ten $1 million dollar grand prizes. The promotion runs through November 18.

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