Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2010 (Revised February 2012)

Yum! China

by David E. Bell and Mary Shelman


Since the first KFC opened in China in 1987, Yum--under Sam Su's leadership--had built the largest restaurant company by far in mainland China. Averaging one new restaurant opening a day for the past five years, in 2010 Yum ran over 3,600 restaurants in 650 cities and employed over 250,000 people, many of them college students in their first jobs. In the third quarter of 2010, Yum China's revenues surpassed U.S. revenues for the first time and many analysts expected that Yum's China business--driven by a rapidly growing middle class--would be twice as large as its U.S. business within five years. But before rushing out to open thousands more stores, Su wondered what the company should do to forestall some of the problems plaguing the fast food industry in the West.

Keywords: Business Processes; Business or Company Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Strategy; Business Strategy; Food and Beverage Industry; Beijing Shi;


Bell, David E., and Mary Shelman. "Yum! China." Harvard Business School Case 511-040, December 2010. (Revised February 2012.)