Fast food chain operator Restaurant Brands is looking to Australia for the expansion of its successful KFC franchise brand.
The company, which also owns New Zealand's KFC, Carl's Junior, Starbucks and Pizza Hut brands, generates nearly two-thirds of its total revenue from KFC sales.
Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy told shareholders at its recent annual meeting it would expand its Australian operations, after it bought 42 stores in New South Wales for A$82.4 million, in March, from Quick Service Restaurant Holdings.
With 600 KFC stores in Australia, Mr Creedy said there were opportunities to grow incrementally with the purchase of one or two stores at a time, with the potential for another large acquisition.
"Clearly, with a well-established above-store organisation, there are opportunities for leverage by acquiring independent franchisees. There are around 60 KFC franchisees in the Australian market with over 450 restaurants between them."
Mr Creedy said the company could also redevelop existing KFC stores or build new ones, and alluded to other possibilities.
"In addition we continue to actively evaluate other international brand franchise opportunities."
He said the company had a strong balance sheet and could fund the expansion through its existing cash and debt facilities.