Yum! Brands Is Considering Mediterranean Cuisine For Its Next Step

The owner of ubiquitous quick service restaurant chains like KFC and Taco Bell is looking to expand its global fast food empire, one acquisition at a time. According to QSR Magazine, the quick service restaurant juggernaut Yum! Brands recently shared its intention to expand and diversify its portfolio of brands in the coming years.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company first launched in 1997 after PepsiCo — which owned Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC at the time — decided to sell off its fast food division to a new company, then called Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. (via Funding Universe).

Since then, the quick-service company has become one of the top restaurant companies in the world, with a current market value upward of 31 billion dollars and international offshoots, including YUM Restaurants China and YUM Restaurants India (via Companies Market Cap). Since its founding, Yum! has launched over 53,00 restaurant locations across 155 countries, cementing the cheekily-named business as one of the most dominant forces in the global food industry.

Although KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut continue to be the pillars of Yum!'s business, the company has bought and sold other well-known chains over the years. The fast food behemoth previously owned the Long John Silver's and A&W restaurant chains, both of which were sold off in 2011, per Nation's Restaurant News.

The franchise company purchased a burger chain for $375 million

Most recently, the company added The Habit Burger Grill – a California-based burger chain with over 300 locations across 13 states — to its lineup of fast-casual franchises, purchasing the company for $375 million in 2021 (via QSR Magazine). And, according to Yum! Brands CFO Chris Turner, the corporation has no plans of slowing down its expansion any time soon.

At the recent J.P. Morgan U.S. All Stars Conference — an annual gathering of investors, corporate leaders, and financial experts — Turner stated that Yum! Brands is "always scanning [restaurant] categories" for their next brand acquisition.

"We're not going to do something that's directly competitive with our current categories or franchisees, but a lot of interesting categories outside of that," said Turner. One category of particular interest is Mediterranean food, a booming culinary industry dominated by chains like Cava, Hummus & Pita Co., and Taïm.

While it's unclear when the fast-casual franchise company might move into the Mediterranean space, Turner indicates that Yum!'s next purchase will likely be comparable to the size and value of its Habit Burger acquisition, indicating a huge payout could be awaiting a quick service Mediterranean chain owner.