Yum Brands Sales Soar as Restrictions Ease

The company, which owns major fast food chains KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, saw sales more than triple year-over-year in Q1.

A KFC restaurant is seen open on April 21 in New York.
A KFC restaurant is seen open on April 21 in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

LOUISVILLE, Ken. (AP) — Profit for the company that runs Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC restaurants more than tripled during the first quarter and same-store sales surged as coronavirus restrictions began to lift this year.

Yum Brands earned $326 million, or $1.07 per share, for the period ended March 31, which last year was marked by exploding COVID-19 infections in the U.S. In that three-month stretch last year, the company's profit fell to $83 million, compared with $262 million in the same three months in 2019.

So the bounce back for the company's restaurants was better than pre-pandemic levels. Wall Street analysts had projected per-share earnings of 85 cents this quarter, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research, which Yum beat by 22 cents.

Revenue jumped 18% to $1.49 billion, also beating expectations.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a restaurant operator's health, climbed 9%. KFC's same-store sales increased 14% in the U.S., while Pizza Hut's grew 16%. Those results were double its performances overseas.

Shares rose more than 1% before the opening bell Wednesday.

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