Taco Bell to open second store

Taco Bell will get its second Australian restaurant early next year.

Collins Foods holds the licence for the brand in Australia and will review a further roll-out after being encouraged by initial trading from its Queensland test store.

Providing more detail about the well-known US brand locally alongside its half-year results on Wednesday morning, Collins CEO Graham Maxwell said there will be at least three Taco Bell locations operational by the end of 2018.

“Taco Bell presents an exciting opportunity to introduce a new Mexican food brand to Australia. Already we are pleased with the customer acceptance of the Taco Bell brand and look forward to the roll-out of additional stores in 2018,” he said.

The first Taco Bell location in Annerley has been trading since September. This is the third run the brand has had at the Australian market.

But it wasn’t all good news for Collins, which booked a 17.5 per cent decrease in statutory net profit after tax to $12.7 million for the half year ended 15 October on $4.7 million in one-off acquisition, refinancing and Stag Stand closure costs.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was up 3.7 per cent to $17.4m though on the back of a 14 per cent increase in revenue to $322.1m.

The group’s flagship KFC business in Australia saw same store sales grow by 1.2 per cent, with five of the 28 restaurants it bought from Yum! In June integrated fully into the portfolio so far.

Sizzler revenue was down 23 per cent to $24 million, while same-store-sales declined 1.3 per cent, amid 2 local store closures that have brought the Australian footprint to just 14 – although the brand is expanding in Asia, with one location in Thailand and another in China added during 2H18.

Management has decided to exit its Stag Stand business following a strategic review, which is due to be completed by the end of FY18. Associated costs of $1.2 million have been booked.

The company’s KFC operations in the Netherlands saw same-store sales increase by 0.2 per cent and have now been integrated and is “performing to expectations, with two additional stores to be opened before the end of the calendar year.

In Germany, where same-store-sales increased by 0.4 per cent, a business transformation program has kicked off to renew and retrain management and staff, refine the value offering and the operational execution of the business.

Maxwell said Collins will continue to expand its presence in Europe now that it has established a footprint of 31 KFC stores.

“We are committed to expanding our KFC presence through new store openings and building a strong and efficient back office to support our European operations, while delivering operational excellence.

“We will continue to strengthen our organisational capability to deliver on acquisitions and organic growth across our portfolio. Continued investment into KFC brand innovation and technology remains important to effectively compete against our QSR peers and maximise shareholder returns,” he told the market.