21 Sep 2011

Restaurant Brands puts Taco Bell on back burner

6:52 am on 21 September 2011

Restaurant Brands is holding off trialling a Taco Bell store until retail conditions pick up considerably.

The fast-food franchise operator, which already runs the KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks chains, originally planned to pilot a Taco Bell in Auckland this year, in anticipation of the economy picking up.

But that has not happened, and the listed company's chief executive Russel Creedy says the project's now on hold. "From our side it's still just a watching brief," he says.

He says a decision on going forward with the idea is unlikely until later next year, and they would need to see an overall improvement in the retail environment first.

Restaurant Brands' sales fell 6.5% in the 16 weeks to the middle of September, due to the closure of Pizza Hut stores and slower sales at KFC.

Mr Creedy is hopeful the Rugby World Cup will help to boost sales and restore consumer sentiment, but says costs are being affected by the turmoil on international markets.