Sales at KFC and Pizza Hut soared last month

The two brands each posted multi-year sales marks last month as consumers readjusted to pandemic dining.
Photograph courtesy of KFC

Consumers are eating more pizza and chicken these days, at least if you ask Yum Brands.

Both KFC and Pizza Hut saw sales soar into the double-digits last month as consumers stayed home and ate more chicken and delivered pizza, parent company Yum said on Wednesday.

KFC’s U.S. market recorded the highest average weekly sales in its history in early May, Yum said, as its same-store sales rose in the “mid-teens” last month. So far this quarter, the chain’s same-store sales are up in the mid-single-digits.

While KFC has performed steadily in recent years, it has not recorded same-store sales of at least 4% since 2016.

Pizza Hut, meanwhile, had its best week for delivery and carryout average sales in eight years, and same-store sales improved to the “low-teens” last month, Yum Brands said.

For the chain’s stores that are focused on delivery and carryout, same-store sales this quarter are up 15%. Overall, Pizza Hut’s same-store sales are up in the “low single digits” thus far this quarter, suggesting still-steep declines for its dine-in units.

At Taco Bell, meanwhile, same-store sales improved to “slightly positive” last month from 30% declines in late March. Quarter-to-date same-store sales are still down in the “high-single digits.”

The numbers all reflect broad improvements in fast-food sales, as consumers have ordered more delivery and takeout and lined up at drive-thrus. Most restaurant chains have seen sales improve week to week as consumers, flush with cash from stimulus dollars and with few other places to spend it, viewed restaurants as a break from the quarantine.

Pizza Hut’s sales, for instance, reflect strong improvement on the past of pizza delivery concepts. Both Domino’s and Papa John’s have reported strong sales in recent weeks as consumers stayed home and ordered delivery.

KFC sales, meanwhile, reflect improvement in the dinner daypart. With customers ordering meals for families, the chain’s buckets of chicken have apparently become more popular in recent weeks.

Internationally, Yum Brands said, results “continue to be choppy” due largely to temporary restaurant closures. KFC same-store sales last month declined 25% outside the U.S., while Pizza Hut’s declined 10%.

Worldwide, Yum’s same-store sales declined 19%, with KFC declining 26%, Pizza Hut down 10% and Taco Bell down 11%.

As of June 9, the company said, about 5,000 of Yum’s 50,000 global locations are still closed.

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