Taco Bell, KFC power Yum Brands quarterly profit, revenue beat By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A delivery staff member wearing a protective mask enters a KFC fast food outlet after a delivery, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatt/File Photo

(Reuters) – KFC owner Yum Brands Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Thursday, as steady demand for its fried chicken and tacos cushioned the blow from a slowdown in sales in its Pizza Hut chain.

The company benefited from customers returning to its restaurants following the roll-out of vaccinations, even as rising concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus kept consumers away from its stores in some key markets.

Rival fast-food chains Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:) and McDonald’s (NYSE:) have also delivered a strong beat in the quarter, aided by the reopening of seating areas in their restaurants and product price hikes.

However, Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut division saw its U.S. system-wide sales drop 2% in the quarter, as pizza chains grapple with a slowdown in delivery demand following a surge during last year’s lockdowns.

Earlier this month, rival Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:) Inc posted its first drop in U.S. same-store sales in over a decade as it also faced a tight labor market that created a shortage of drivers.

Comparable sales for Yum Brands jumped 5% in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, missing the average estimate of a 6.5% increase, according to Refinitiv IBES.

The Taco Bell owner still reported an adjusted profit of $1.22 per share on revenue of $1.61 billion, beating estimates of earnings of $1.08 per share on revenue of $1.59 billion.

(This story corrects paragraph 4 to say system-wide sales dropped 2%, not same-store sales)

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