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The first Taco Bell restaurant in China opened in Shanghai’s central business district as part of the fast food chain’s plan to open 1,000 restaurants overseas by 2022.
The Shanghai restaurant retains the chain’s California-inspired design but offers menu items adapted to Chinese preferences. It has graffiti art on the walls and surfboards hanging from the ceiling, offers free Wi-Fi, and has digital menus and ordering kiosks.
The menu offers new items only available in China, which include a Shrimp and Avocado Burrito and a spicy Sriracha sauce on the Volcano Chicken Burrito.
Yum China Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Micky Pant said the company developed the sauces from 30 years of experience operating other restaurant brands in China.
The chain “thoroughly researched and fine-tuned the Taco Bell menu for China,” he said.
The restaurant in China also serves beer on draft and specialty cocktails.
Taco Bell Corp. Chief Executive Brian Niccol said the site is “an exciting milestone for the brand as this market holds tremendous growth potential.”
Taco Bell has more than 7,000 restaurants systemwide, including 300 locations in 26 countries outside of the U.S. It has more than $9 billion in annual sales and is the largest restaurant chain in Orange County, with 2,000 local employees.
It’ based in Irvine and owned by Yum Brands Inc. in Louisville.
Yum China Holdings Inc. was formed by the separation in November of Yum Brands’ China operations. Yum China is the sole licensee in the country of Yum Brands’ chains—Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC—with the parent firm retaining a stake in the China company.
Yum China attracted a $50 million investment from Alibaba Group Holdings and $410 million from private equity firm Primavera Capital Group, both in China, as part of the spinoff.
Yum China traded recently at a $10.1 billion market cap. Yum Brands has a $23.7 billion market cap.