Taco Bell plans hundreds of new Asian outlets

US Mexican-themed dining chain Taco Bell says it plans to drive growth by expanding its presence in Asian markets.

The brand intends to double its number of overseas restaurants to more than 500 outlets within the next few years.

Taco Bell’s previous rollouts in Asian markets have occasionally been unsuccessful. An early franchise operation in Japan closed in the 1980s, although it reappeared in the territory four years ago. The brand also withdrew from Singapore in 2009.

“Consumers weren’t ready in terms of awareness and the brand wasn’t positioned right at the time”, said president of Taco Bell International Liz Williams. The brand now expects to fare well in the territory with its more international young population and “heightened awareness” of Mexican food.

A new store opening in Thailand this week will be modified for the market, including a spicier salsa recipe to suit local tastes. Forty more Thai locations are planned to open under local franchise partner Thoresen Thai Agencies.

Taco Bell, operated by Yum! Brands, has 7000 restaurants in the US.

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