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Taco Bell to target Asia

US fast food chain Taco Bell is launching a global expansion drive, including a specific focus on three Asian markets.

The chain says it is actively seeking “experienced franchise operators” in the Asian markets of Korea, Japan, Thailand and India. It will not be targeting China at this stage.

Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, parent of the KFC and PIzza Hut brands. It sells “Mexican-inspired” food through quick service restaurants, serving tacos, burritos and specialties such as its trademark Doritos Locos Tacos, gourmet inspired Cantina Power Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu.

Taco Bell has more than 6000 restaurants across the US run by about 350 franchise partners, serving more than 36 million customers every week.

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In Asia it has made little impact to date with two stores already in Bangalore, India, three in the Philippines and two in Seoul, South Korea.

Now it is looking to global markets to spur growth. Besides Asia it is looking to expand into the UK and Poland in Europe and in Chile (where it has 13 stores, mostly in malls and co-located with KFC outlets) and Peru in Latin America. It already has 35 outlets in Canada and 36 in Puerto Rico and representation with small clusters of stores in another 23 countries.

It failed in Australia, opening in Sydney in 1997 and withdrawing in 2005 and in Singapore from which it withdrew in 2008.

The new drive into markets outside the Americas will be led by newly appointed chief development officer, Meredith Sandland, formerly VP of development with Taco Bell.

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