YUM! struggling to create fast casual winner

| by Cherryh Cansler
YUM! struggling to create fast casual winner

YUM! is testing another fast casual concept, Taco Bell Cantina, after closing U.S. Taco Company, its first try at a fast casual Mexican concept.

YUM! Brands seems to be taking the adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again," more than a bit seriously.

For the past two years, it's been trying — and failing — and trying —  to break into the fast casual space. Its Taco Bell spinoff, U.S. Taco Company, is closing just 14 months after it opened the concept in Huntington Beach, California. It reported low traffic and trouble obtaining a liquor license, according to LA Magazine, which ruined its plans for creating an "urban taproom."

KFC, another YUM! brand, tested its version of a fast casual concept in 2013, when it opened KFC Eleven in Louisville, Kentucky. The restaurant which served flatbreads, salads and rice as opposed to the standard fast-food offerings of KFC, closed April 24. 

But neither crash and burn scenario is stopping Yum! as it is clearly determined to find a fast casual winner and testing a few other concepts, including Banh Shop, which opened last year in Dallas. Although still operating, the chain changed its logo within a week of opening after Vietnamese Americans in Dallas, petitioned the company, complaining that the red star "evoked painful memories of Vietnam’s communist regime."

Just earlier this week YUM! announced it’s opening Taco Bell Cantinain Wicker Park in Chicago, its latest fast casual effort. It will serve beer, wine, sangria and Twisted Freezes, a frozen alcoholic beverage and it's already prepping a second location to open in San Francisco later this month.

Here's hoping YUM! third effort, Banh Shop, and fourth fast casual foray, Taco Bell Cantina, will ultimately prove William Edward Hickson's famous proverb to be true.




Topics: Franchising & Growth

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.

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