First KFC Restaurant to Open in Burma Next Year

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 13 October 2014

RANGOON — American multinational Yum! Brands Inc. and Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd of Burmese businessman Serge Pun will work together in opening up the first Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant in Burma next year, the firms announced on Sunday.

“The announcement of the first KFC coming to Myanmar reflects our ongoing strategy of global expansion in emerging markets,” Micky Pant, CEO of KFC, said in a press release. “We’re excited to work with such a well-respected franchisee to bring the great taste of KFC to Myanmar, an important emerging Asian economy with a population of 50 million people.”

“Chicken is a staple protein in Myanmar and our people recognize the KFC brand and Colonel Sanders’ secret Original Recipe of 11 herbs and spices,” Pun, Yoma’s executive chairman said.

“[W]e are proud to be KFC’s franchise partner to help fulfill its growth ambitions in Myanmar. Bringing KFC to Myanmar is an important step to achieving Yoma Strategic’s goal of being a key player in the country’s food and beverage sector,” he said in a release.

Several international restaurant chains that sell fried chicken have opened up in Burma recently, with South Korea’s Lotteria and Malaysia’s Mary Brown starting establishments in Rangoon last year.

Yi Mon Oo, a regular customer of Lotteria Fried Chicken, said she and her friends would like to compare the flavors of KFC with the other fried chicken restaurants. “When Mary Brown opened up, there were a lot of people coming to the restaurant. After Lotteria opened, many people moved there. So if KFC is here, we will decide which one has the best taste,” she said.

Yum! Brands is a American firm that owns a number of global fast-food restaurant chains, such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. KFC has more than 18,000 restaurants in 118 countries, with US $23 billion in global sales.

Pun said Yoma’s partnership with Yum! Brands marked an important move towards tapping to Burma’s consumer class, which he said was expected to grow from 2.5 million today to 19 million in 2030.

Pun is one of Burma’s most prominent businessmen and has built up a vast business conglomerate since the early 1990s. His firms, which include Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings and Serge Pun & Associates, cover real estate, banking, agriculture, the consumer market, automotive and luxury tourism business.

Unlike many of other Burmese tycoons, Pun’s firms have not been included on the United States Treasury’s blacklist, making him a favored local partner for overseas investors. The Treasury bans US firms from doing business with blacklisted firms because of their close ties to the former military regime.