Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. fourth quarter systemwide sales rose 8% to $3.3 billion and full-year sales climbed 6% to $10.8 billion, its parent company, Yum Brands Inc. in Louisville, Ky., said.
Percentage increases were better than or equal to KFC and bested Pizza Hut, two other Yum-owned chains. For the quarter, Taco Bell, which has regularly run third of the three fast food operators, came within $11 million of No. 2, Pizza Hut. KFC is bigger than both of the others combined.
Taco Bell same-store sales rose 6% for the quarter and 4% on the year. It opened 151 restaurants in the quarter and 309 for the year—including 94 overseas—and at the end of 2018 had 7,072 units systemwide. It refranchised 199 locations as part of a push by Yum to reduce its company-owned store count.
Yum overall reported a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 40 cents, missing an analyst consensus of 95 cents. It also reported sales below analysts’ expectations.
Following the results, shares were flat at $94.61 and a $29.5 billion market cap.