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Yum Brands invests in development of front-line managers with acquisition of Heartstyles.

Yum Brands buys leadership development company Heartstyles

CEO David Gibbs says strengthening the company's people-first culture will drive unit economics

Yum Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, is making a big investment in the lifeblood of its restaurants: franchisees and general managers.

The Louisville, Ky. based company has acquired leadership development company, Heartstyles. The value of the deal was not disclosed Tuesday. It marks the second big investment the quick-service restaurant company has made since David Gibbs became CEO in January. Earlier this year, the company bought Habit Burger Grill, a fast-casual burger chain based in Irvine, Calif. 

Heartstyles will offer restaurant leaders online tools that unlock their potential and help them set goals that will drive performance.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Heartstyles to the Yum family because their method and coaching have already had a profound and measurable impact on performance anywhere we’ve rolled it out within our system,” Tracy Skeans, chief transformation and people officer, said in a statement. 

The company said it plans to offer Heartstyles to 2,000 franchisees who run 98% of its more than 50,000 restaurants.

Gibbs said improving restaurant leaders will elevate the experience for Yum’s 40 million customers. That, in turn, will drive unit economics. 

“Scaling Heartstyles globally can help us consistently and measurably strengthen our people-first culture from the corner office to the restaurant,” Gibbs said in a statement. “When we and our franchisees have strong and engaged Restaurant General Managers, they lead inspired teams, the customers feel it and it positively impacts results.”

KFC International has worked closely with the company, according to a testimonial on the Heartstyles website.

"One of the things you see most often in Leadership Development is that they take some very generic skills and try to apply them to unique individuals. Heartstyles does the reverse: it looks first at the unique individual and then gives them the skills they need to grow,” stated Dyke Shipp, chief people officer at KFC International.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven


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