Tricon Restaurants International:
Globalization re-examined
By Francesca Filipet & Giulia Azzi
The Fats Food Industry
- Supply side
-Demand side
Key Food Categories and Competitors
Tricon Global Restaurants and Tricon
Restaurants International: what they did
Tricon Restaurants International
Name: Tricon Global Restaurants
Headquarter: Kentucky
Brands: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC
Birth: 1997  spun off from PepsiCo
Organization: 4 divisions, 3 domestic ones built
around each of the 3 brands + 1 to manage
international operations
… after the spin-off, there was the need to change
Tricon’s culture, improve unit economics and
refranchise some of the units the company owned.
Other key objectives were:
1) Reduce the $ 4.6 billion debt resulting from the
2) Consolidate and standardize Tricon’s operations
3) Focus on a few key markets
But first: The Fast Food Industry
The revenues of the fast food industry were $ 160
billion in 1998.
27 of the top 30 fast food chains were headquartered in
the US and accounted for 60% of global fast food sales.
The bigger part of the sales was coming from US.
However fast food chains started looking more carefully
abroad because of the low growth rate of US ( only 5%
as compared to China and Mexico that were expected
to reach 20%).
The Supply Side
Fast food chains tried to offer:
-same experience all over the world
- uniformity in their offerings,
-standardization of menu,
-production processes,
-raw material quality, outleat appearence etc…
RAW MATERIAL COSTS: 20% -40% (of rev)
RENT & UTILITIES: 25%- 30%
Big variations by food category: why?
-labor costs
-Stores built for on-premise or off-premise consumption
-Location of the stores (on-premise near traffic generators; offpremiseresidential neighbourhood)
-Franchising and company-owned units
… one of the key point was the mix between franchised and
company-owned units. And all big fast food chains relied on
this mix which was also very helpful since there were huge
complementarities between franchised and company-owned
units and because of mutual learning!
Demand side
Consumer spending on fast food was increasing even more rapidly
than total expenditures on food.
However in some developed countries such as France and Italy,
penetration remained limited. While in less developed countries such
as China, people went to the fast food not to eat typical American food
but better “American style”.
In all countries some degree of local customization was needed (offer
lamburgers to Hindus people instead of hamburgers, don’t serve pork
to Muslism, spicy tastes were preferred to South Africans etc…).
But standardization and consistency formats limited this adaptation
Other marketing levers: bundling high-margins items, spend a lot in
advertising, promotions and expensive tie-in with media icons.
The Fats Food Industry
- Supply side
- Demand side
 Key Food Categories and Competitors
Tricon Global Restaurants and Tricon
Restaurants International: what they did
Key Food Categories
Fast food industry could be divided into 12 categories, however we
focus on the firts 4 that constitute the bulk of the market: burgers,
pizza, chicken and Mexican food.
Biggest single category in fast food industry.
The leader was McDonald’s Corporation with $ 36 billion sales from 25,000 units
spread across 115 countries.
80% of McDonald’s capital expenditures were directed outside US, and its
international operations accounted for 49% of company’s revenues and 57% of its
profit  saturation of the US market  growth was expected to come from outside!
McDonald’s Strategy
Consistency in achieving key processes +
Innovation to keep market leadership +
consistency of experience
15% of the fast food market
Less concentrated than the burger market
Why?  Lower capital requirements
Leader: Pizza Hut (1958 Kansas) with 3,200 units, more than 100 outside US in
1998: 35% of units in US were company-owned vs 26% overseas
Several challenges: Domino’s (second largest competitor) innovation.
 Pizza Hut responded spending millions of dollars on a quality initiative
“totally new pizzas” to maintein the 15%-20% price premium.
+ challenges from local competitors abroad as Telepizza from Spain who
enetered also a number of foreign countries between 1992 and 1998 (Poland,
Portugal,Mexico, Germany, Brazil, France, Morocco).
1997: Telepizza had 399 units in Spain and 68 overseas. Pizza Hut had 150 in
Spain in 1995 and 123 in 1997!
Accounted for 15% of the fast food market (as pizza).
But less US-dominated: more internationalized!
Leader: KFC – 55% of US market
Competitors: Popeye’s 8%
Church’s 6%
Overseas market was growing more rapidly.
KFC – Kentucky Fried Chicken sold to PepsiCo in 1986  made PepsiCo the largest fast
food competitor in the world in terms of units and second-largest in terms of scale
with 6,500 units and more than 1,500 units outside US.
32% of units in US were company-owned vs 21% overseas.
High profitability: it was the inventor of this fast food category and claimed a
larger share of it!
Outside US, KFC accounted for 62% of Tricon’s sales, compared to 36% for
Pizza Hut and 2% for Taco Bell.
…. But….
Chicken business seemed to vary more from
country to country than did pizza or burger
Local tastes more defined than tastes for pizza or
it addressed different social classes in different
countries: in Australia middle class, in US blue collars, in
UK an evening meal concept ,while in France and Spain
sales were during lunchtime… income and daypart
position difference
KFC announced plans to enter the chicken-sandwich
industry in direct competition with McDonald and Burger
King. Result?  positive: 15% price premium to
McDonald’s !
Mexican Food
Mexican quick-service restaurant industry accounted for 5% of the
worlwide fast food market, but was confined to US.
High market concentration.
Leader: Taco Bell – 73% of market share.
2%-3% of systemwide sales for Tricon Restaurant International.
76 units among Canada, Puerto Rico, Central & South America.
24% of US units were company-owned.
Taco Bell expanded access points in the 1990s, and promoted a tiered
menu strategy to continue to be a mid-tier family food provider while also
selling cheaper fare focused on teens.
1998: advertising campaign with Chihuahua Gidget that became a cultural
icon in US (but was not universally employable, dogs were taboo in some
Asian countries).
The Fats Food Industry
- Supply side
- Demand side
Key Food Categories and Competitors
Tricon Global Restaurants and Tricon
Restaurants International: what they did
PepsiCo Restaurant International
• 1980’s very aggressive Coca-Cola campaign cut down PepsiCola’s sales
• 1980’s PepsiCo also invested in the restaurant side:
improving operational efficiency in restaurant
refranchising company-owned restaurants
• 1995 consolidation of KFC and Pizza Hut in PepsiCo Restaurant
Peter Hearl, executive vice president of Tricon Restaurant
International, criticize the way KFC and Pizza Hut were run by
PepsiCo (minimal coordination across different countries)
“U.S. domestic company doing business overseas, rather than a multinational”
PepsiCo spin off to Tricon
• 1997 PepsiCo spun off KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco
Bell into Tricon Global Restaurant in order to
focus its activity on selling soda and snack
• 1998 Tricon had 29’000 units both operated or
franchised in 102 countries, $20.6 billion of
sale and $8.5 billion of revenues
New goals for the company (Pearson and Novak)
• Pre-spinoff organizational structure
• Run domastically
• Achieve economies across the three brands
(combo units, launching multibrands promotions, unified food service
purchasing cooperative, leveraging general and administrative expenses
across them)
Reduce company ownership of Tricon
Relying on franchisees for the bulk of system expansion
Keep separate the three domestic operating companies
Combine into (TRI) Tricon Restaurants International all
international operations
TRI successes in 1998
• $6.7 billion of sales (32% of Tricon’s total)
• $2 billion revenues (24% of Tricon’s total)
• $191 million operating profits (21% of the total)
• TRI aimed to grow at 20% per year and go global
Tricon Internationally
• 17 separete geographic business units working together
(functional area heads reported to both the general manager of the business unit and
the senior vice-president)
• 1998 decision to concentrate equity investments in
countries which generated significant profit or which has
high potential to do so
(the objective was to have a smaller number of core markets
reporting directly to Tricon’s president Bassi in order to have
one-system across various business units
according to the proportion 80:20, in which 80 is what
headquarters would drive and 20 is the local option)
Remaining markets would be operated by franchisees
Sources of System Sales in
International Restaurants
Asia-Pacific 42%
Europe, South Africa 24%
Americas 21%
Greater China 13%
europe, south
greater china
• CHAMPS= main operational improvement and standard for a
common operating platform among all franchisees
(Cleanliness, Hospitality, Accuracy, Maintenance, Product Quality, Speed of Service)
• Definition and measurement of excellence, training and support
for employees, recognition and reward for whose achieving
(mystery guest who simulated a customer visiting a restaurant and evaluating the
• Four volumes of operating standards in every unit all over the
• Gold standards for every core item and justification of
variation through statistical testing
• Before the spin-off: lack of standardization and share of the best
practices between brands or regionally between a brand
• Need to communicate the same message all over the world
throughout TRI’s global operations
(share of standards and best practices as quick service, delivery/take-avey and kids’
• Difficoulties in coordinating marketing and advertising campaign at
international level
Bassi “even il you can globalize a product, it is very difficoult to globalize an
Senior vice-president “Franchisees improve things, we don’t generally have the first
fights with them”
Human Resources
• Restaurant-focused culture
• Movement around of manager
(refusal of historical baggage and development of new programs)
• Emphasis of ownership
(encouragement managers to own company stock)
• Recognition
Pace “people are so appreciative of getting recognition, as long as it’s sincere, people just want to be told ‘thank you’”
• Keep the restaurant location
• Lowering turnover
• Local management= cultural background
(managerial mobility only for highest levels of management)
Problem: how to allocate funds across demands coming
from all around the world?
• Risk-reward profile, historical background, competition
in the market and human resources for each country
• Standardization of financing functions across countries
Difficoulties of internationalization:
• Currency fluctations
• Determination of country risk premia
• Financial intermediaries for transactions
• Taxation issues, very different across countries
Franchise was increasingly important:
more and more sections of the globe were served
through the franchise business model
Franchise support centers in three core cities
(Dallas, London, Singapore) that provided services
Standardization of franchise contract around the
world (imposition of franchisees discipline)
Product Development
R&D and Quality Assurance department at TRI
almost $20 million per year spent on R&D
(product and process development to expand into new dayparts and new
Resources spent on product development were mostly for the
U.S., where Tricon thought to have enough room to grow
Limited product development outside U.S.
(application resources to customize products for local health and safety
standards, local suppliers, and customer sentiment)
U.S. Sales by Daypart (% of Sales)
Dinner 63%
Lunch 26%
Snacks/Breakfast 11%
U.S. Sales by Distribution Channel (% of Sales)
Dine Out 71%
Dine In 29%
U.S. Sales by Daypart (% of Sales)
Dinner 55%
Lunch 34%
Snacks/Breakfast 11%
U.S. Sales by Distribution Channel (% of Sales)
Dine Out 82%
Dine In 18%
U.S. Sales by Daypart (% of Sales)
Dinner 39%
Lunch 48%
Snacks/Breakfast 13%
U.S. Sales by Distribution Channel (% of Sales)
Dine Out 71%
Dine In 29%
Repositioning in China?
• Great success of KFC in China (first opening in Beijing 1987)
leader in the market
• Sam Su (leader of the management team): “Possibility of
increase KFC success by repositioning it to offer fuller dining
• Operational and marketing changes in expanding to fuller
dining experience
• Investment in building up local product development
Thank you!

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