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Taco Bell (US) Signs Deals for 400-plus Restaurants in Brazil, Spain

29 Jun 2018 - With its first-ever master franchise agreements, Taco Bell is in global expansion mode. The Irvine, California-based Mexican chain signed deals with franchisee groups in Brazil and Spain that call for the development of more than 400 total restaurants over the next decade.

Sforza Holding Group, a private equity company based in São Paulo, Brazil, is set to open more than 200 Taco Bells in the state by 2027. The new agreement expands Sforza’s existing partnership with Taco Bell.

Led by founder and CEO Carlos Wizard Martins and his son, Taco Bell Brazil CEO Lincoln Martins, the group began working with Taco Bell International in 2016. The Martins family, who own and operate all Taco Bell restaurants currently open in Brazil, set a Taco Bell development record with the opening of more than 20 restaurants in less than two years.

In Spain, Casual Brands Group is also expanding upon a current partnership. CBG, led by CEO Ignacio Mora-Figueroa, has been working with the Taco Bell brand since 2008 and owns and operates 40 Taco Bell restaurants throughout Spain. With the new agreement, CBG guarantees that more than 200 restaurants will be built in the country over the next 10 years.

Liz Williams, Taco Bell’s former CFO who took over as president of international following Melissa Lora’s retirement at the end of 2017, told Franchise Times in November, “International is a huge growth opportunity for Taco Bell.”

“In the U.S. we have roughly 7,000 restaurants,” continued Williams. “Internationally, we have less than 400. So in terms of where the growth is going to come from, it’s going to continue in the U.S., but international is the white space.”

Since 2016 Taco Bell has opened locations in eight new international markets: China, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Romania and, most recently, Peru. By the end of 2018, the company said it would have more than 500 restaurants in 27 markets around the world, with the goal of expanding the brand's international footprint to 1,000 restaurants by 2022.

“I think our brand is a really hot brand, it’s a brand that translates well internationally. There’s so much enthusiasm and the economic model is only getting better. So it’s maintaining that enthusiasm and making the economic model even better,” said Williams. “I think people will invest in something internationally when they’re really excited about it, but also when they can make a lot of money.”


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