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Tue 14th Mar 2017 - Yum! Brands agrees £300m sale of majority of company-owned KFC stores in Britain, reveals UK management reshuffle
Yum! Brands agrees £300m sale of majority of company-owned KFC stores in Britain, reveals UK management reshuffle: Yum! Brands has agreed the estimated £300m sale of most of its company-owned KFC stores in Britain as it shifts the emphasis to franchising. The company, which has almost 900 KFC outlets in the UK, is to sell about 180 of its 230 company-owned and run KFC outlets in 15 separate packages to new and existing franchise holders, reports The Times. The announcement came as KFC revealed a management reshuffle in its UK operations. Martin Shuker, general manager of its UK and Ireland business, is handing the reins to his chief financial officer, Paula MacKenzie, a Cambridge economics graduate who has worked for KFC since 2011. She has previously worked for Innocent Drinks, Glaxosmithkline and Diageo. Shuker, 54, is stepping back from day-to-day management of UK operations to focus on his role as managing director for Western Europe, comprising the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Shuker, who joined Yum! Brands in 1995 from United Biscuits, has run its UK and Ireland operations for 13 years, building it into a £1bn business and achieving 48 out of 52 quarters of growth. Late last year Yum! Brands announced a refranchising programme and appointed BDO to advise it on the sale of all but about 50 of its company-owned stores. Although private equity firms were approached about buying the entire package of 180 stores, selling packages of stores for franchise was seen as the best option. The company said that the sale process, which may take until the end of next year to complete, would involve the sale of “bundles of restaurants” to three new franchise partners and 12 existing KFC franchise holders. In 2012 Yum! Brands sold its Pizza Hut UK restaurant business to Rutland Partners after going through a similar refranchising process and late last year it revealed plans to increase its franchise ownership for all its restaurant brands from 77% to 98%. KFC was founded by Colonel Harland D Sanders in Kentucky in the 1950s and became known for its “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan, later reduced to “So Good”. It has been on British high streets since 1965, when it opened its first outlet in Preston. The colonel devised a combination of 11 herbs and spices with flour to create the KFC taste, and the secret recipe is only known to a handful of people. It is locked in a vault in Louisville. Despite the perception of fast food as a low-paid job with poor working conditions and few prospects, under Shuker KFC has been ranked as one of the top 25 “great places to work in the UK” for the past eight years.

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