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Taco Bell to open first Cyprus store by December.

The first Taco Bell restaurant will open in Cyprus at the end of the year, probably at the MyMall in Limassol's Zakaki, making this the second European market to develop the brand after Spain.

PHC Franchised Restaurants, operator of the 29 Pizza Hut outlets on the island, as well as Wagamama in Nicosia and Athens, signed a master franchise agreement with Yum! Restaurants International (YRI) to develop the first Taco Bell in three months' time and the second no later than 18 months after that.

The location of the second Taco Bell is not yet known, but the company is leaning towards Limassol or Nicosia, targeting the 16-35 age group. There seem to be no immediate plans to develop the Taco Bell brand abroad, but YRI and PHC are discussing further deals.

Two staffers are ready to fly off to Irvine, California, for about eight weeks to train as Operations Manager and General Manager of the Mexican-style chain best known for its budget meals of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and other specialty items.

YRI is the international arm of Yum! Brands, itself spun off from PepsiCo in 1997 that operates the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell franchises, with 36,000 restaurants in over 110 countries.

PHC is on target of achieving its former growth rate of 8-10% a year as it expands its present portfolio of franchise restaurants in Cyprus and abroad, with new Pizza Huts to appear soon in Limassol and Paphos.

The Taco Bell opening will place the island on the map of some 300 international restaurants, as the franchise operator considers consolidating some of its Cyprus properties into multi-brand outlets.

PHC has exclusive rights to develop KFC in Paphos and joint custody over the brand in Larnaca and Ayia Napa, whereas rival CK Restaurant System Franchisers operates the outlets exclusively in Nicosia and Limassol.

PHC also operates a Pizza Hut in Belgrade, while the Wagamama in Athens has exceeded expectations, making the company consider a second opening in Greece. Other PHC franchise outlets are also doing well, with the newcomer Derlicious serving Greek-style kebabs at the Mall of Cyprus in Strovolos.

The company has added a Cypriot variant to the menu, while the traditional 'gyro' will appear there in October, with PHC on the lookout for a second property.

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Publication:Financial Mirror (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Sep 13, 2009
Words:397
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