KFC is normally the focus when it comes to Yum! Brands' (Fortune 500) presence in China. But Pizza Hut, another Yum! chain, has seen same-store sales grow at double-digit rates the last three years in the market. The company opened 200 Pizza Hut Casual Dining restaurants in China last year (at the end of the first quarter there were nearly 900 total in the country) and is in more than 200 cities and every province except Tibet. ,
While in the U.S. the majority of business is takeout and delivery, China's Pizza Hut Casual Dining is all about the sit-down meal. "It's positioned as 'the best Western casual dining experience,'" says Steve Schmitt, Yum! Brands vice president of investor relations. "We don't go for a local-type experience, but it's skewed toward local preferences." The delivery arm in China, Pizza Hut Home Service, is still an emerging brand there.
The broad menu in China sees 25% of its items change twice a year. In addition to pizza and pasta, offerings include appetizers like escargot, entrees such as steak, and a selection of rice dishes. Pizza at the sit-down locations makes up 30% of sales, vs. 70% in the U.S., with toppings focused more on seafood -- Atlantic Salmon pizza or Stuffed Crust Jumbo Shrimp Crown pizza. Yum! is also working on utilizing the restaurants all day. Tea time is big, and the company is testing Western-style breakfasts.
There's nothing like the two columns called China Briefs in the South China Morning Post.