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Photo by Samuel Richard

A Taco Bell franchisee opened the restaurant’s first location in Sri Lanka, a local news report said.

Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. had said in May that it would enter the market as part of an international push over the next five years. About 95% of the chain’s 6,700 locations are in the U.S.

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The Mexican-themed fast food chain, a unit of Yum Brands Inc. in Louisville, Ky., entered India several years ago, the nearest neighbor to Sri Lanka with Taco Bell locations, but has grown slowly there: it had opened about a half-dozen locations by 2015, all company-owned, in its first four years. Yum had about 800 Pizza Hut and KFC locations in the country at that time.

The first franchised location in India opened two years ago as Yum planned to sell franchise rights to three private equity firms for about $100 million. The Taco Bell India website shows 13 locations now open.

The Sri Lanka franchisee is Gamma Pizzakraft Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, which also franchises Pizza Hut on the island.

Taco Bell locations overseas sometimes adapt store design and menu items to local markets. The report said the Colombo, Sri Lanka, location would have “stylish interiors, whimsical art and (the) latest music” and menu items, including “California Tan—a non’alcoholic carbonated malt beverage … [and] non-alcoholic mojitos.”

“It is time for Sr Lanka to now experience our uniquely craveable Mexican inspired food,” said Ankush Tuli, managing director for Taco Bell Asia Pacific.

“A void for quality Mexican inspired food in the country is being filled” with the new location, said Amar Raj Singh, managing director of Gamma Pizzakraft Lanka.