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Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits

Ezra Carmel
July 31, 2023
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits

In the current inflationary environment, the high cost of dining out has motivated many consumers to visit relatively low-priced fast food and fast casual dining concepts. Many fast food and casual dining chains are surging, with some even taking steps towards IPOs. Yum! Brands – the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill – has a foothold in both the fast food and fast casual dining categories. We dove into the location intelligence metrics for Yum! to take a closer look at the foot traffic to its chains and the consumer demographics that drive visits to each of its brands. 

Year-Over-Year is Yum!

The value-perception of fast food restaurants makes them an attractive meal solution for budget-conscious diners, which likely plays a part in KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell’s ongoing success in 2023. But these brands are not just relying on their affordability to attract visitors to their venues. KFC recently added the sought-after chicken nugget to its menu and announced a chicken sandwich sweepstakes. The Habit Burger Grill – the fast-casual chain in Yum!’s portfolio – also jumped on the chicken bandwagon. Pizza Hut is staying on top of popular trends with new Cheesesteak and viral Hot Honey meals. And Taco Bell – known for re-releasing nostalgic dishes – announced the return of the Enchirito along with other fan-favorites this summer. 

In the first two quarters of 2023, the four brands generally experienced year-over-year (YoY) visit growth. The only exception was Taco Bell which saw a YoY visit gap in Q2 2023 – likely impacted by lapping the reintroduction of the immensely popular Mexican Pizza in May 2022. Zooming in on YoY weekly visits to Taco Bell from the middle of May 2023 provides further evidence of the difficult comparison to the previous year. But by the week of June 12th, 2023 Taco Bell returned to a pattern of YoY visit growth.

Making A Habit Of It

In addition to emphasizing diverse menus, Yum! keeps its brand fresh by investing in new concepts like The Habit Burger Grill – the most recent addition to its portfolio of restaurants. Yum! acquired the Southern California native chain just as the pandemic struck, with the goal of facilitating the brand’s expansion nationwide. As Yum’s only fast casual concept, The Habit appears to round out Yum!’s consumer base with higher income and family clientele that might not typically visit a fast food restaurant. 

Trade Area Analysis of Yum! Brands’ venues in H1 2023 – using the STI: Popstats dataset – revealed that the median household incomes (HHI) in the captured markets of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell were below the nationwide average. The median HHI in The Habit’s captured market, however, was 27% higher than the nationwide average and included larger households, with a greater share of visitors from three (16.8%), four (15.6%) and five or more person households (15.5%) than the other three chains. 

The data indicates that The Habit attracts more affluent diners and more visitors from larger households than the other restaurants in Yum!’s portfolio. This allows Yum! to benefit from a demographic segment that might not regularly visit one of its other concepts and capitalize on the strength of the casual dining category.

Yum! On a Run

The current economic climate lays the foundation for the success of budget-friendly restaurants including those owned by Yum! Brands. These chains keep menus exciting while appealing to fans of viral trends and nostalgic dishes. With the addition of a fast-casual concept in The Habit, Yum! Brands is in position to drive visits from diners of many backgrounds. 

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