November 10, 2009 / 11:55 AM / in 8 years

Yum India head aims for $1 billion sales by 2015

NEW DELHI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N), owner of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut fast-food chains, wants to have 1,000 restaurants in India generating sales of $1 billion by 2015, the head of its Indian operations said on Tuesday.

Niren Chaudhary would not disclose Yum's current sales in India, but said it would invest about $150 million to quadruple the number of restaurants, expand its footprint to about 60 cities and increase staff levels five times to about 50,000.

"Specifically by 2015, we want to be a billion dollar company with 1,000 restaurants," Chaudhary, managing director for Yum! Restaurants, India, told reporters at a World Economic Forum event at the Indian capital.

"That's our dream."

Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum operates about 150 Pizza Hut stores and about 65 KFCs in India, and has seen 2009 same-store sales growth of more than 20 percent at Pizza Hut and over 6 percent in KFC, Chaudhary said.

The company is quite close to opening its first Taco Bell restaurant in Bangalore and would be expanding the franchise to other cities, he said.

Yum competes with McDonald's (MCD.N), Domino's, Pizza Corner and local brands such as Nirulas and Haldiram in India's organised food and beverage retail sector, which is growing at around 25-30 percent annually.

Yum has tweaked it prices and menus to account for Indian incomes, tastes and sensitivities.

"The eating-out market is $64 billion, out of which branded food is less than 1 percent. So I think there is a massive opportunity for all our brands," Chaudhary said. (Editing by John Mair)

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