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It's all in Yum! Brands, serving delicious food and exciting careers.

African-Americans have changed the face of the quick service restaurant industry. From corporate executives and franchise partners, to in-store support, attracting and retaining African-American leadership and talent are essential ingredients to driving the future growth of restaurant companies like Yum! Brands, Inc. Recognizing this key "ingredient," Yum! launched its "Great Things Start Here" campaign to ensure that the community remains a part of the company's recipe for success.

With nearly 33,000 restaurants in over 100 countries and territories Yum! Brands, Inc. (parent of A&W[R] All-American Food[TM], KFC[R], Long John Silver's[R], Pizza Hut[R] and Taco Bell[R]) is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of number of units. Although known for serving delicious food, it's the company's "Customer Mania" that remains at the top of its core menu. Yum! promotes a culture that is positive and energetic, builds people capability and creates an environment of true team spirit.

"I started with KFC as a part-time cashier because I needed a job to help pay for my college expenses," shares Regetta Polk, KFC Area Coach. "At the time, I never imagined I could have such an exciting career with the company. For me, it's more than just serving great tasting chicken. It's a career where I can grow at my own pace, while developing and inspiring others." Today, Regetta is building on her 22-year career with KFC, managing eight restaurants in the Maryland/Washington, DC area, with annual sales totaling over $7 million.

Regetta's story is not unlike thousands of others at Yum!--people hungry for opportunities with a desire to succeed and a commitment to satisfying customers better than anyone. Regetta, like thousands of others, found a rewarding career at KFC. "Fast food is fun! There's never a dull moment in the restaurant industry," states Regetta. "Because people are important to me, having the ability to lead teams is the most rewarding aspect of my career. I take pride in my continuing journey to success with KFC."

In Yum's culture. African-Americans and other diverse talent have always been valued and easily recognized as leaders. In fact, 23 percent of Yum's total domestic workforce is African-American. Steve Davis, President and Chief Concept Officer for Long John Silver's, began his career with Pizza Hut nearly ten years ago as an Operations Senior Manager. "I was attracted to the restaurant industry because of the direct cross-functional experience one can obtain ... operations, marketing, finance, people development, real estate, and the list goes on," says Steve.

"The career opportunities at Yum! are wide open for open-minded people. While at Pizza Hut, I learned all aspects of restaurant operations and worked in a progressive series of operational assignments, including Division Vice President, National Vice President of the West Coast, Senior Vice President of New Concept Development to now, President and Chief Concept Officer for Long John Silver's." Steve states. "As far as I'm concerned, there are only positive aspects to working within the restaurant industry. Serving people their favorite foods is a rewarding profession."

Both Regetta and Steve share the same sentiment--Yum! is a company built on "Customer Mania" that provides career advancement at all levels of the business. In fact, these careers extend even farther than the restaurants and corporate headquarters--they also impact franchise ownership.

As Yum! Brands grows the world over, so do the ranks of their franchise business partners. In fact, Yum's African-American franchisees are some of the country's most successful entrepreneurs and are building thriving neighborhoods with expanded economic opportunities. Often ranked as leading businesses and employers in numerous industry publications, these entrepreneurs use their leadership to strengthen the Yum! system and enhance its brand loyalty.

Like many emerging professionals, Yum! Multi-Unit Franchisee, Thornton Edwards, began his career in corporate America. With an MBA in hand, he launched a successful career with several Fortune 500 companies. "In retrospect, I had exciting positions, earned a great salary, had access to the corporate jet, etc., but ultimately, I knew I wanted to do more than just make money for someone else," shares Thornton.

Always open to new, lucrative opportunities, he put his professional and entrepreneurial experiences together to enter the dynamic world of franchising. As a Yum! franchisee, Thornton currently owns 35 franchised restaurants in the Detroit and Chicago regions, including KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Express. He shares the Yum! values of reinvesting in the community he serves. "My hope is that through my example, African-American teenagers and minority young adults will see entrepreneurship and franchising as viable career options," Thornton states.

Yum! Brands is proof that rewarding careers can be found in the quick service restaurant industry. The company's African-American restaurant, corporate and franchisee leadership is an example that no matter who you are, or where you work at Yum! you have the opportunity to make the most of your career and your life. At Yum! "Great Things really do Start Here."
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Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Company Profile
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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