Food & Beverage

Executive Perspectives: David Gibbs

The CEO of YUM! Brands—the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell—shares how the company is adapting.

Yum Brands Inc. has more than 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries. Its major brands—KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell—are global leaders in their categories. Yum!’s family of brands also includes The Habit Burger Grill. The coronavirus crisis has had an immediate impact on the company’s business. David Gibbs held roles as the company’s Plano-based president, CFO, and COO before being named CEO effective Jan. 1. He joined the company in 1989. 

What are the short-term ramifications for your specific industry?  

With dining room closures across the United States, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell have shifted to low-contact options through delivery, drive-thru, or carryout, which is critical in this social distancing environment. Many of our stores have introduced contactless delivery options, which is something I see being applied more broadly in the restaurant industry. Pizza Hut offers contactless delivery in the U.S. and 50 countries internationally, and KFC and Taco Bell offer it through our partnership with Grubhub  

What are other measures being taken? 

“All of our restaurants have doubled down on our already stringent health, hygiene, and safety protocols, ensuring that we can continue making food available safely. I’m grateful for how quick and agile our incredible franchisees and restaurant teams have been in adapting during this difficult time, and I’m proud of their dedication to maintaining the health and safety of employees and customers.    

How are you maintaining your company culture?  

Yum!’s people-first culture, which we’ve always seen as a huge competitive advantage, has allowed our company to continue being collaborative, transparent, and productive during this challenging environment. Our culture values leading with heart and courage, looking after one another and leaning on each other in times of stress. We’ve maintained this by staying more connected, including increasing leadership updates to employees and hosting global, company-wide virtual town halls. 

Are there any silver linings? 

Yum!’s culture drives the decisions we’ve made to provide additional support to franchisees and employees impacted by COVID-19. Even more heartening is seeing how it has inspired our franchisees and front-line employees around the world to give back to their communities, including feeding healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel and donating food and funds to at-risk youth, food banks and others in need. 

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