YUM! Brands - owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and others - is not simply concerned with being the biggest franchise company in China. CEO David Novak said in an interview that he wants to feed the world.
Novak joined USA Today recently for an interview about the direction of the franchise group. Not surprisingly, a lot of the talk was about YUM!'s international plans and strategy. KFC does after all have the most restaurants of any global brand in China and 36,000 restaurants in 117 countries operate under the YUM! umbrella. Novak says that the key to international expansion is that people abroad desperately want to experience American brands, and he says that he thinks YUM! can be the franchise to satisfy that craving.
"We view ourselves as a global company. We want to be the defining global company that feeds the world. We think that if anyone can define what a truly great multinational company can act like, it should be us."
Interestingly enough for readers of this blog, Novak says that the rise of imposter or 'clone' restaurants is not a serious issue. Of course, Novak speaks of that ever-growing need for franchises to cater their menus to foreign tastes when expanding abroad:
"In Asia, people like spicier foods. We have a Zinger sandwich, a spicy chicken fillet sandwich that is enormously popular. In India, sauces and flavors are really important, so we have a Masala line of pizzas."
There's some solid advice here for franchises considering an international step.