LOUISVILLE, KY. — Value offerings lured consumers to Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in the recent quarter, according to executives at parent company Yum! Brands, Inc. Lower-priced items including burritos and wraps position the company well in the current environment, said David W. Gibbs, chief executive officer.
“We feel great about the fact that all of our brands are really on a roll right now,” Mr. Gibbs said during a Feb. 8 earnings call. “…there’s a little bit more interest in value, which our brands are perfectly positioned to deliver on. You’re seeing that with our menu offerings. Taco Bell with the Cravings Menu and $2 burritos, the new Melts product at Pizza Hut, which is screaming value. KFC just rolled out wraps … at a great value price point.”
Pizza Hut Melts, which debuted in October, is a handheld item featuring two slices of thin-crust pizza folded, baked and served with a dipping sauce.
“Melts over-indexed to predinner time frames and individual occasion tickets and helped to recover the lower household income base due to its strong value proposition,” Mr. Gibbs said, adding the product has been “attracting younger consumers to different occasions than would traditionally use Pizza Hut.”
Consolidated net income attributable to Yum! Brands for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2022, was $1.3 billion, equal to $4.63 per share on the common stock, down 13% from $1.6 billion, or $5.30 per share, in the prior year. Adjusted earnings per share increased 1% to $4.51 from $4.46.
Revenues for the full year totaled $6.8 billion, up 4% from $6.6 billion.
“System sales for the year grew 8%, driven by strong international same-store sales growth for KFC and another stellar performance from Taco Bell,” said Christopher L. Turner, chief financial officer. “Full-year core operating profit grew 6%, which includes a 2-point headwind from the removal of Russia profits this year.”
Fourth-quarter net income was $371 million, equal to $1.31 per share and up 12% from $330 million, or $1.13 per share, in the comparable quarter. Excluding special items, adjusted earnings per share increased 29% to $1.31 from $1.02.
Revenues for the quarter advanced 7% to $2 billion from $1.9 billion.
“Fourth-quarter system sales growth of 10% was in line with the update we shared at our Investor Day, driven by 6% same-store sales growth and 6% unit growth,” Mr. Turner said. “Core operating profit grew 22%, which includes a 2-point headwind from the removal of Russia profits this year. Reported operating profit included a negative $42 million foreign currency translation impact in the fourth quarter and a negative $118 million impact to the full year.”
Yum! Brands in October signed an agreement to transfer ownership of its Russian KFC restaurants to an existing Russian franchisee, paving the way for a full exit from the country. The company last summer transferred ownership of its Pizza Hut assets in Russia to another local operator. The new owners will be responsible for rebranding the restaurants into non-Yum! concepts.
The company in the second quarter removed the Russia business from key performance metrics. Removing Russia from the prior-year base, worldwide system sales excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange advanced 8% for the year and 10% for the quarter.
In 2022, Yum! Brands opened nearly 3,100 net new restaurants, ending the year with more than 55,000 restaurants globally.
“And then on the labor side, we're seeing an increase in applications, stores returning to their pre-COVID operating hours, which is great that we’re able to staff the stores now appropriately,” Mr. Gibbs said.Shares of Yum! Brands trading on the New York Stock Exchange closed at $131.42 on Feb. 8, up $2.08, or 1.6%, from the previous close.