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China Loves Chalupas

Tuesday, 29 Apr 2008 | 7:03 PM ET
Finger Lickin' Good
An outlook on Yum Brands, with David Novak, YUM! Brands chairman, president & CEO and Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

While most companies in the food business stress rising food costs, Yum! Brands is focused on growth.

China’s become fertile ground for the restaurant company’s big three – KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut – Chairman, CEO and President David Novak told Cramer. While the number of Yum! outlets in the U.S. may outnumber those in China by six to one, it’s only a matter of time before that changes, he said, because “business is booming” there.

But Yum! is growing in different ways here at home. Novak said his firm is implementing “new sales layers” in its 18,000 U.S. restaurants over the next three to five years. Consumers will see Pizza Hut’s move into pasta, Taco Bell’s healthy-food additions and new beverages and KFC’s grilled chicken offerings. The plan is to “unlock value in our assets,” Novak said.

The CEO won’t discount the impact higher food costs are having on the industry, but “we can weather almost any storm in the business,” he said, thanks to his three leading brands and the company’s global outlook.

Cramer’s a believer: “I want to be in Yum!.”

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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