LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Yum Brands Inc. reported a 19 percent increase in second-quarter profits, boosted by rebounding business at KFC in China where worries about food safety have eased.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, which also operates Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, said late Wednesday that sales at established locations in China surged 15 percent. In late 2012, a TV report said some of KFC's suppliers were giving chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics. That fueled fears over food safety and sales plunged. A few months later, fears over avian flu upended the recovery.
But executives have been able to restore trust with a marketing campaign that highlighted the safety of its food. KFC also rolled out a revamped menu. The company said Wednesday it remains on track to open 700 new restaurants in China. In that country, KFC's sales at established restaurants rose 21 percent, while Pizza Hut's results were even with a year ago.
However, back in the U.S., KFC and Pizza Hut continued to face sluggish sales. KFC reported that sales at established restaurants were down 2 percent, while that figure fell 4 percent at Pizza Hut. At Taco Bell, sales at established restaurants rose 2 percent.
Taco Bell announced last week that it aims to pack more protein on customers' plates. It's replacing its Cantina Bell burritos and bowls with ones that will have a double portion of meat and more than 20 grams of protein.
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