Taco Bell reported stellar growth in 2022—a that feat executives said was achieved thanks in part to the A-list star of the fast-food chain’s recent commercials, reports Fortune Magazine.
Yum! Brands’ fourth quarter earnings beat Wall Street’s expectations when they were published on Wednesday, February 8; with a strong performance from Taco Bell offsetting slower growth at the company’s Pizza Hut and KFC divisions. The chain reported same-store annual sales growth of 11%, coming in way above analysts’ estimates of a 6.8% increase.
David Gibbs, Yum’s CEO, described 2022 as a “landmark year” for the company, noting “encouraging progress” on the Taco Bell breakfast front.
“Building on high-profile partnerships such as Doja Cat and Davante Adams, Taco Bell brought in Pete Davidson to help drive consumer buzz for breakfast,” Gibbs said in Wednesday’s call. “This led to 9% transaction growth [on breakfast items].”
Gibbs added that Taco Bell’s “cult classic” menu item the Mexican pizza helped lift the chain’s sales—telling investors on the call that 45 million units were sold, which he said was “impressive considering it was only available for four months of the year.”
With elevated inflation persisting throughout 2022, Gibbs also noted that Taco Bell was able to target both high-end and value-seeking customers, thanks to its premium products like the grilled cheese burrito and its budget-friendly items like nacho fries.