Monday, September 25, 2017

Yum! Brands and Jardines bring Pizza Hut to Myanmar

Fast-food lovers can rejoice again, as Yum! Brands Inc leads the charge against Myanmar’s long-standing resistance to American food and beverage franchises.

Customers sip beverages at a Pizza Hut in China. Photo: EPACustomers sip beverages at a Pizza Hut in China. Photo: EPA

Last year the US listed company announced plans to open a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Myanmar. Now it has set its sights on introducing American restaurant chain Pizza Hut to Yangon’s Golden Valley.

Yum! will partner with Jardine Restaurant Group, a subsidiary of Hong Kong headquartered conglomerate Jardine Matheson, and local retail company City Mart Holding to open its first Pizza Hut outlet in Myanmar.

The restaurant will be located in a standalone building beside City Mart’s Marketplace supermarket on Dhammazedi Road. The site is currently being renovated, and is scheduled to open in November this year.

Jardine Pacific operates over 600 Yum! franchises in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and southern China. Elsewhere, it also represents KFC, but failed to secure the franchise in Myanmar. KFC instead partnered with Serge Pun-chaired Yoma Strategic Holdings.

“Yum! used to operate as a single franchise through a single office, which has recently been split into KFC and Pizza Hut. They want to distinguish one from the other, which means that proposals to represent both are no longer optimal,” said a person with knowledge of the matter.

The news of Pizza Hut’s imminent arrival will come as a blow to those who revel in Myanmar’s freedom from global F&B franchises. Giants such as McDonalds and Starbucks have not yet entered the country: The only international food and beverage franchises in operation are South Korea’s Lotteria and Malaysia’s Marrybrown, both of which entered the market in 2013.

Yum! Brands also owns the Taco Bell franchise, but has not yet announced plans to establish it in Myanmar. Yum! is headquartered in Kentucky and has more than 41,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories. It was formed as a spin-off of PepsiCo in 1997 and now has revenues of more than US$13 billion.

Jardine Matheson was founded as a trading company in China in 1832. It has had a presence in Myanmar for several years. In 2013, elevator and escalator focused joint venture Jardine Schindler opened an office in Yangon. In the same year, Jardine Cycle & Carriage became Daimler’s Myanmar distributer for Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi Fuso vehicles.

Jardine Engineering Corporation also has a presence in Myanmar, and insurance broking arm Jardine Lloyd Thompson has a licence to open a representative office for insurance and reinsurance services, according to a company spokesperson. Hongkong Land, the group’s real estate division, is also reportedly looking for opportunities.