23 Jun 2011

Restaurant Brands hopes RWC will lift sales

9:22 pm on 23 June 2011

Fast food franchise operator Restaurant Brands is hoping the Rugby World Cup will spark a stronger lift in sales, as consumers trim their spending.

At its annual meeting in Christchurch, the company also told shareholders it is still considering adding the Tax Bell franchise to its stable of KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

Restaurant Brands had a strong year in 2010, with profit rising by a quarter driven by its highly-performing KFC brand.

But growth has slowed, as consumers carefully watch their spending amid a rising cost of living.

The fast food operator has responded by slowing the pace of KFC refurbishments and plans to sell another 10 Pizza Hut stores in smaller centres.

The company is pinning its hopes on a stronger performance during rugby's premier event later this year, based on similar live and televised events.

But it remains cautious about the flow on into the wider retail environment.

Meanwhile, the company is in early talks with Yum about introducing the Taco Bell brand.

Restaurant Brands believes Taco Bell would work in New Zealand but says there is plenty of work still to be done before it makes a decision to pilot the franchise.

It closed down 2c to $2.55 in Thursday trading.