Force of ‘Star Wars’ Tie Not Aiding Taco Bell

Second-quarter sales inched up 1% at Taco Bell stores open at least a year, a disappointment after the Irvine-based chain’s big promotional tie-in with the new Star Wars movie.

“Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace” dominated at the box office this spring, but the force did not translate into huge sales increases for Taco Bell, which teamed with KFC and Pizza Hut for the promotion.

All three fast-food chains are owned by Tricon Global Restaurants Inc.

Same-store sales were up 4% for Taco Bell in the first quarter.


At Pizza Hut, these sales were up by 9%, a gain attributed to the chain’s successful Big New Yorker pizza.

KFC posted a 2% increase.

“What’s most notable is that we were able to achieve these results despite the fact that our promotional tie-in with Star Wars was surprisingly ineffective at driving sales and actually slowed momentum in the U.S.,” said Andrall Pearson, Tricon’s chairman and chief executive.