The Biggest Fast Food Company Is About to Get Even Bigger

Yum Brands has lofty goals for the future of its core chains.

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If you’ve been dreaming of seeing a Pizza Hut on every corner, 2023 just might be your lucky year. According to Restaurant Business, Yum Brands, the parent company that owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC, is ready to add 100,000 new restaurants to its portfolio, and that’s without acquiring any new brands. It’s a move that solidifies Yum’s position as the largest fast food company in the world.

Restaurants owned by Yum Brands

Yum Brands currently operates 54,000 locations, Restaurant Business reports, and the chains under its umbrella are not only Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC, but also The Habit Burger Grill, a California-based chain with approximately 300 locations nationwide. Adding 100,000 more locations to Yum’s roster will happen slowly over time—that figure is an estimate based on how much available space is within the market for Yum Brands to fill. But its annual growth projection is still impressive: In 2021, the group added 3,100 new locations, the most of any restaurant brand in a single year.

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The company is specifically eyeing Taco Bell as a growth opportunity overseas. In the past, Yum has invested more in getting Pizza Hut and KFC growing in the international market. In fact, KFC is one of the biggest chains in the world, with 23,000 locations outside of the United States.

But that doesn’t mean all the focus is on international business. In 2021, KFC grew the total number of U.S. locations for the first time in 17 years, and Pizza Hut is on track to gain in stateside locations for the first time since 2014. And while Habit Burger is easily the least well-known brand in the company, that just means it’s primed for domestic growth.

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McDonald’s and Starbucks vs. Yum Brands

While Yum encompasses multiple massive brands, its biggest competitors in the country are standalone brands. McDonald’s is the second largest fast food corporation with 40,000 locations worldwide, and Starbucks is close behind with more than 33,000 total locations. Starbucks ranks first in the U.S. at 15,000 locations, compared to McDonald’s 13,000 and Taco Bell’s 7,000. (McDonald’s, however, still does the highest total sales, with Starbucks at number two. Taco Bell is fourth, Pizza Hut is 13th, and KFC ranks 14th in overall sales.)

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Even if Yum keeps up with its own projections, McDonald’s will be one to watch. This year’s smash-hit McDonald’s promotions proved to be a huge success for the chain, resulting in higher foot traffic despite higher prices. That growth in revenue plus McDonald’s new direction for future locations can only point to a bigger footprint in the coming years. Meanwhile, in an investor meeting in September, Starbucks projected it will reach 45,000 stores globally by 2025. Across the board, we can expect to see more of all of our favorite chains popping up around the world for years to come as fast food chains continue to battle it out for our loyalty.