YUM! Brands

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

YUM! Brands is the largest fast-food operator in the world in terms of number of locations, with over than 37,000 outlets in approximately 110 countries. It is second to McDonald's in sales. The company's flagship chains include Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) with over 16,200 locations; Pizza Hut, with over 13,200 locations; and Taco Bell, with over 5,800 locations. YUM! also operates the Long John Silver's seafood chain as well as several hundred A&W root beer and burger outlets. Approximately 80% of the company's outlets are run by franchisees, affiliates and licensed operators.[1]

In the fiscal year ending in December of 2009, the company reported sales of approximately $10.836 billion dollars and had 350,000 employees.[2]

Ties to ALEC

YUM! Brands is a corporate member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Matt Lathrop, YUM! Brands' director of government and community affairs, co-chairs the Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force. At ALEC's annual 2011 meeting in August, this subcommittee focused solely on the topic of "Paid Family Medical Leave." At the meeting, attendees were given model bills to override paid sick leave legislation in the states. Wisconsin's 2011 Senate Bill 23, which Republican governor Scott Walker used to overturn paid sick leave legislation in Milwaukee, was the basis for the model legislation. [3]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Labor issues


"There's good reason such service-sector positions are called 'McJobs'," wrote Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser.

His Los Angeles Times piece described California State Proposition 72 as:

"an initiative that would require large and medium-sized business owners to give health benefits to their workers. ... The fast-food industry is the nation's largest employer of minimum-wage labor. ... Led by McDonald's, the industry has pioneered a workforce that earns low wages, gets little training, receives few benefits and has one of the highest turnover rates of any trade."

Other opponents of Proposition 72 included Burger King, Wendy's, Walgreen, Best Buy, Target, Sears, YUM! Brands, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association. The state legislature had already passed a bill in 2003, signed into law by then-Governor Gray Davis, that required larger businesses to offer health care benefits. But fast-food companies, big box retail chains and their allies spent millions of dollars to rescind the law through the initiative process. In their campaign to defeat the initiative, the same groups ran television ads relying on "scare tactics, distortions and ... fundamental misrepresentation(s) of Proposition 72." [4] Proposition 72 failed.

Animal welfare issues

Animal experts quit over KFC's confidentiality pact

In May of 2005, two animal welfare experts resigned after being asked to sign an agreement barring them from speaking publicly on such issues as animal slaughter. Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Ian Duncan stepped down from YUM! Brands animal welfare committee after being sent an agreement requiring them to refer all media inquiries to KFC corporate headquarters:

"I resigned because there is a document that I can't sign. I feel very strongly that I can talk freely to the press about how the program's working, what's been going on with the program."

Dr. Grandin has also worked with McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King. She said that she respects confidentiality pertaining to suppliers and pricing information. However, no other company, including KFC, has ever required her to sign an agreement which barred her from speaking to the press:

"Certain things are confidential ... I will not give out pricing information or information about who is supplying chicken where. That type of confidentiality agreement I sign all the time."

According to KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer:

"It's just the same confidentiality agreement they've always had. We're just asking everybody to re-sign it."

She did not specify why committee members were being asked to re-sign the agreement. According to Ms. Warschauer, Dr. Grandin, Dr. Duncan and another committee member had given KFC a list of recommendations the previous March and added that the company had a "plan of action." Both Dr. Grandin and Dr. Duncan had served on the committee for about three years. According to Dr. Duncan:

"The way that I read it, it wouldn't allow me to talk in general terms about animal welfare. ...If someone phoned me up and said 'You are on the KFC animal welfare committee,' I was bound to say 'No comment."'

KFC had been criticized by animal advocates over welfare issues and inhumane slaughter of chickens. In 2004, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), released a video taken from inside a West Virginia chicken processing plant which supplies KFC. Workers were ripping off birds' beaks, spitting tobacco into their mouths and eyes, stomping and kicking them. According to Dr. Duncan, the company:

"has some way to go. ...I've not been happy with the progress that's been made in setting standards."

Dr. Grandin agreed that KFC:

"needs to be strengthening some things. ...Change happens slowly and they have been making some improvements." [5]

Hopefully, requiring that suppliers refrain from "ripping off birds' beaks, spitting tobacco into their mouths and eyes, stomping and kicking them", were included in the "recommendations" and "improvements". It is also not clear why information about "who is supplying chicken where" should be "confidential". In 2004/05, PETA conducted an undercover investigation in a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse in Heflin, Alabama.[6]

"Kentucky Fried Cruelty" campaign

Rev. Al Sharpton on KFC's animal abuse. - PETA - March 2006

A campaign sponsored by PETA called "Kentucky Fried Cruelty", has pressured KFC to drop Tyson Foods as its supplier, due to it's abusive animal practices and resistance to reforms.[7], [8]

Tyson Foods

In separate investigations in 2007, PETA documented Tyson Foods workers urinating in the "live hang" area and on the conveyor belt that carried birds to slaughter. Other abuses included breaking legs and wings, throwing birds against shackles, breaking a chickens back by beating it on a rail, stabbing birds in the neck and shackling birds by the neck instead of the legs. The investigation also documented supervisors who were either directly involved or refused to enforce animal welfare policies. For example, a supervisor was recorded telling the investigator that ripping the heads off live birds was acceptable. Another refused to intervene when after birds became trapped at the end of the conveyor belt and when birds were cut at the body (instead of the throat). Abuse was was documented at both the Georgia and Tennessee plants. [9]

Tyson is also a major supplier of restaurant chains, which also includes McDonalds. [10] Tyson also has a history of human rights abuses which include safety violations, workplace fatalities, substandard wages and benefits and harassment and physical assaults on striking workers.

See also Tyson Foods & animals raised & hunted for food on birds.

Menu Labeling

In October 2008, Yum! announced that it would begin posting calorie information beside the product name and price on menu boards at its company-owned restaurants across the country by 2011. Exceptions include drive-thrus, where space is limited, and independently-owned franchise locations, though Yum! said they would be encouraged to follow suit. According to Sr. VP Jonathan Blum:

"We're a leader. We hope all restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores follow our lead."[11]

The action comes at a time when more states and cities are putting in place or are considering requirements for restaurant chains to post consumer nutritional information. McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's said they had no immediate plans to follow Yum! Brands' lead and expand nutritional labeling to menu boards.


Greenpeace's campaign against Sinar Mas has revealed that the packaging of Pizza Hut and KFC takeaway brands is made from a Sinar Mas paper mill fed by illegal logging in Sumatra. Greenpeace is about to call for a boycott of these brands.

Political contributions

YUM! Brands gave $146,194 to federal candidates in the 2010 election through its political action committee - 32% to Democrats, 67% to Republicans, and 1% to other parties.[12]


YUM! Brands spent $870,000 for lobbying in 2010. $320,000 went to three lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. [13]

Personnel & board


Accessed May 2014: [14]

|*DAVID C. NOVAK - Director since 1997 | Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.

  • Sam Su- Director since 2008 | Vice Chairman, Yum! Brands, Inc. and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Yum! Restaurants China
  • Michael J. Cavanagh - Director since 2012 | Co-Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Corporate and Investment Bank
  • DAVID W. DORMAN - Director since 2005 | Non-Executive Chairman, CVS Caremark Corporation
  • MASSIMO FERRAGAMO - Director since 1997 | Chairman, Ferragamo USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Salvatore Ferragamo Italia
  • Mirian Graddick-Weir - Director since 2012 | Executive Vice President Human Resources, Merck & Co., Inc.
  • BONNIE G. HILL - Director since 2003 | President, B. Hill Enterprises, LLC
  • JONATHAN S. LINEN - Director since 2005 | Advisor to Chairman, American Express Company
  • THOMAS C. NELSON - Director since 2006 | Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, National Gypsum Company
  • THOMAS M. RYAN - Director since 2002 | Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,

CVS Caremark Corporation

  • Robert D. Walter - Director since 2008 | Founder and Retired Chairman/CEO, Cardinal Health, Inc.

Key executives & pay

  • David C. Novak (58) - Executive Chairman, CEO - 4.39 M & 66.3 M in exercised options
  • Jing-Shyh Samuel Su (58) - Chairman & Executive Officer - YUM! China Division - 2.53 M & 5.84 M in exercised options
  • Graham Allen (55) - President, YUM! Restaurants International - 1.84 M & 7.04 M in exercised options
  • Greg Creed (53) - President, Taco Bell - 1.64 M & 908K in options[15]

Board of directors



YUM! Brands 1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213

Phone: 502-874-8300

Fax: 502-874-8790

Web address: http://www.yum.com

Articles & sources

Related SourceWatch Articles

PRWatch Articles


  1. Profile: YUM! Brands, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
  2. Key YUM! Brands, Inc. Financials, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
  3. http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/10/11079/flu-burger-alec-wants-sick-people-serving-you-food Flu with that Burger? ALEC Wants Sick People Serving You Food] PR Watch, October 19, 2011, accessed October 21, 2011
  4. Eric Schlosser Super-Sized Deception From Fast-Food Giants, Los Angeles Times, October 2004
  5. Nichola Groom Animal Experts Quit KFC Over Confidentiality Pact", Reuters/CorpWatch, May 5, 2005
  6. Tyson Workers Torturing Birds, Urinating on Slaughter Line, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed January 2011
  7. Kentucky Fried Cruelty: Cruelty USA, PETA.org, accessed January 2011
  8. Tyson Workers Torturing Birds, Urinating on Slaughter Line, PETA.org, accessed January 2011
  9. Tyson Workers Caught Torturing Birds, Urinating on Slaughter Line, PETA.org, accessed February 2009
  10. Steve Hannaford Oligopoly profile: Tyson Foods, Oligopoly Watch, updated September 2007
  11. Bruce Horovitz "Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut add new menu item: Calories" USA Today, October 2, 2008
  12. 2010 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
  13. YUM! Brands lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
  14. YUM! Brands Board, organizational web page, accessed May 14, 2014.
  15. YUM! Brands Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed January 2011
  16. Yum! Corporate Governance, YUM! Brands, accessed January 2011