Yum China Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: YUMC), and Taco Bell Corp. today announced that they have opened the first Taco Bell restaurant in the second largest economy in the world: China. The inaugural restaurant is located near Shanghai's landmark Oriental Pearl Tower in the Lujiazui area, the city's central business district, and is Taco Bell's latest international market entry as it grows the brand globally.
"We are thrilled to bring Taco Bell to China with the official opening of the first restaurant at a spectacular location in Shanghai," said Micky Pant, Chief Executive Officer of Yum China. "Consumers in China today want the best the world has to offer, and Taco Bell is one of the most exciting brands anywhere. Leveraging our deep insights into Chinese consumer preferences, developed from close to 30 years operating in this market, we thoroughly researched and fine-tuned the Taco Bell menu for China and the initial response from customers is very encouraging."
The menu features the brand's favorites that have been adapted to local tastes. High quality ingredients coupled with newly developed sauces create items such as the Shrimp and Avocado Burrito unique to Taco Bell restaurants in China. The Crunchy Taco Supreme is now loaded with Taco Bell's signature Nacho Cheese Sauce and the Volcano Chicken Burrito features spicy Sriracha sauce.
Customers can also order shared plates featuring seasoned nacho chips, spicy fried chicken, and Mexican fries. These menu items pair perfectly with a variety of alcoholic beverages including ice-cold beer on draft and specialty cocktails like the Margarita and the Mojito. The Mexican inspired classics are made-to-order in a transparent, open kitchen where fans can see their food being handmade. Self-order kiosks allow consumers to study the menu and beat the rush at peak hours. The unique menu and ambience combine to create a totally unique and fun experience for Chinese consumers.
The official launch of the restaurant follows the soft opening during which Taco Bell fans have been sharing their love for the brand through social media posts, blogs, and videos. Over 1,000 fans participated in a selfie soft opening promotion and continue to voice their excitement for the brand's arrival in China.
Mr. Pant continued, "Taco Bell is an innovative brand with a strong heritage that we believe will resonate well with Chinese millennials. Built around the concept of 'Live Mas' -- literally meaning 'Live More' -- Taco Bell encourages its customers to try things they've never tried before. I look forward to creating experiences that surprise and delight people as we expand the Taco Bell brand in China."
The Shanghai restaurant showcases Taco Bell's classic California inspired look and design, perfect for enjoying meals worth sharing with friends and groups. The restaurant features guitars, graffiti art and surfboards hanging from the ceiling, while also integrating advanced technology throughout, including free Wi-Fi, digital ordering kiosks, digital menu boards and a range of payment options, providing customers with a fully immersive and convenient in-restaurant experience.
"Building restaurants in new international markets is a key component to the overall growth and evolution of Taco Bell and we've just scratched the surface of our global unit expansion potential," said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer of Taco Bell Corp. "The opening of this Taco Bell restaurant in China is an exciting milestone for the brand as this market holds tremendous growth potential. We look forward to supporting Yum China as it builds Taco Bell's presence in the country."
Currently, Taco Bell has more than 7,000 restaurants in the world with over 300 in 26 countries outside of the United States. Taco Bell's first restaurant in China is part of the brand's global growth strategy of reaching 1,000 restaurants internationally by 2022.
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