KFC is buying a bunch of restaurants across the pond.
The chicken chain said on Wednesday that it has an agreement to buy more than 200 locations of its brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland from its largest franchisee there, the EG Group.
The Louisville, Ky.-based chicken chain already operates 50 locations in the country and says the acquisition “represents a significant opportunity to accelerate” its growth in the market, which it says is “large and growing.”
Restaurants in the market have high average unit volumes and “robust margins.”
KFC has 1,040 restaurants in the UK and Ireland. System sales in the market are up 7% this year and same-store sales are up 5%. The number of restaurants in the market has increased by 25% since 2018 and KFC wants to add another 500 locations there by 2030.
EG’s KFC business in the market will come under KFC management. More than half of the restaurants feature drive-thrus and the restaurants employ 7,800 people. Sabir Sami, KFC’s CEO, called the KFC business a “powerhouse globally” for parent company Yum Brands. “Over the past five years, we’ve secured our leadership position within the UK and Ireland chicken market,” he said.
EG Group, which helped drive much of the market’s growth over the past years, said it was the “right time to hand the baton to the KFC leadership team.”
The company is a massive operator of global restaurants and sold them in part to pay off debt. “This is the latest transaction in our significant deleveraging this year, to put in place a sustainable capital structure,” brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa, co-founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, said in a statement.
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