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KFC owner Yum Brands reports digital sales of $17bn in 2020, up 45% YoY

24/03/2021 – Restaurants / Digital Innovation / Yum Brands / KFC / Taco Bell / Pizza Hut

KFC owner Yum Brands reports digital sales of $17bn in 2020, up 45% YoY

Despite the blow of pandemic restrictions in 2020, Yum Brands’ earnings for the year topped analysts’ estimates. How well the company has faired has had much to do with embracement of digital innovation across its quick-service restaurant chains, which include KFC, Taco Bell, The Habit and Pizza Hut.


According to research data analysed and published by Stock Apps, the company’s Q42020 revenue grew by three per cent year-over-year (YoY) to US$1.74 billion – higher than the expected US$1.72 billion. For the full year, digital sales rose by 45 per cent to US$17 billion – up 45 per cent YoY.

Based on an NPD Group report, restaurant digital orders in the US shot up by 145 per cent YoY in December 2020. By the end of the year, carry-out accounted for 46 per cent of off-premises orders, with drive-thrus accounting for 44 per cent.

The US digital restaurant market sales rose by an extraordinary 124 per cent in 2020, to reach US$45 billion.

Innovative digital introductions

Yum Brands launched a series of initiatives to speed up its digitalisation process in 2020. For KFC, a new eCommerce ecosystem streamlined off-premises order handling. As a result, transaction times at the window reduced by 16 seconds in Q42020 compared to Q42019. 

Burger-grillhouse chain The Habit added curbside pickup, which accounted for 10 per cent of all sales and 50 per cent of mobile sales. 

Through its Go Mobile ecosystem, Taco Bell saw drive-thru transaction times drop below four minutes. Thanks to similar investments, Pizza Hut saw an 18-per-cent growth in same-store sales from off-premise channels. Taco Bell reported a 12-per-cent digital sales mix, while The Habit had a 40-per-cent sales mix from its digital platform.

McDonalds also benefited from a shift to digital, generating US$10 billion from online sales across its top six markets in 2020. They accounted for 20 per cent of the company’s total annual sales. Chipotle also posted a 177.2-per-cent YoY increase in digital sales during Q4 2020, reaching US$781.4 million.

The rise and rise of digital sales

According to eMarketer, digital restaurant market sales in the US rose by 123.8 per cent in 2020 to US$44.94 billion. In 2021, it is projected to increase by 22.3 per cent to $54.97 billion and in 2022, by16.3 per cent to $63.93 billion. 

By 2025, digital sales will account for 54 per cent of limited and quick-service restaurant business, according to a forecast study by Incisiv.

The full story, statistics and information can be found here

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