Yum! University


Yum! Brands organize and implement training programmes across its global system to transform entry-level employees into restaurant management leaders.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 

The job market for college graduates is more competitive than in previous decades. A skills gap exists in the marketplace in finding individuals with the basic skills needed to be successful at running a restaurant.  Many of the employees sourced across Yum!’s system lack university experience or degree completion.

  • Yum! University (YU) and division training teams offer courses and workshops delivered in various formats and designed to teach the skills and behaviours that continue to build the capability of above-restaurant leaders around the world.
  • Yum!’s traditional and virtual classrooms are forums where employees can build new skills, share best practices, develop relationships, and learn together in a "one system" manner across all brands and geographies.
  • 70% of management positions are filled internally using entry-level employees who then complete training programmes. These programmes range from scholarship support to internal training initiatives, leveraging both the classroom and technology-based methods.
  • Across the globe there is notable investment in training programmes in its divisions as well as Yum! University.
  • More than 6 million online courses have been completed between 1 January 2011 and 31 October 2011.
  • In China, 98% of Yum!’s more than 3,300 associates in the Restaurant Support Center participated in Yum! Internal training program in 2007. In total, 3,230 associates received 26,300 hours of corporate training, an average of eight hours per associate.
  • In Australia, the internal training program qualifies Yum! as a Registered Training Organization, falling under the government's TAFE (Technical and Further Education College) standards. Associates who participate are awarded with TAFE Certificates and Diplomas.
  • In the United States, salaried associates are provided with tuition reimbursement (at a maximum of US$ 4,000 per annum) for qualified undergraduate and graduate courses taken toward a job-related degree. Additionally, US$ 500,000 is awarded annually through the Andy Pearson Scholarship Program. Since implementing the programme in 2003, nearly 1,500 scholarships have been awarded to associates and their dependants. In 2009, 39% of the scholarships were given to students of colour and 56% percent to female students.
  • In Mexico, associates participate in 65 to 130 hours of training per year, depending on their roles and positions.
  • In France, team members receive 24 hours per year in training, while managers participate in 150 hours of training per year.
Why has it worked?: 
  • Yum! University focuses on three key areas:
    1. Leadership Excellence: Each associate strives for breakthrough results in their piece of Yum!, and coaches and develops themselves and their teams. The courses, offered along with supporting tools, help build capability across all levels of the organization.
    2. Cultural Excellence: Driving a recognition-based, global culture that focuses on growth and breakthrough performance is essential for continual success. Yum! University’s courses and tools help to maintain a winning mindset everyday.
    3. Functional Excellence: Yum! University’s courses teach critical skills and processes, provide supporting tools, and reinforcing mindsets that span the functional areas of our business.
  • Yum!’s division training teams are focused on building operational capability within the restaurants to ensure an optimal customer experience.
Conclusions and Recommendations: 

Yum! University (YU) helps associates across the globe understand the key concepts needed for success in any experience. By promoting internally and investing in the development of entry-level employees you can build a reliable workforce that builds a better business.

Foundational Issues: 
Critical skills gaps
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 2: Collaboration across organizations within a country
Global (all of the above)
Economic and political context: 

Yum! Brands (2011):

  • System Employees: 1,000,000+
  • Sales: $11.665 Billion
  • Assets: $8.207 Billion
  • Profit: $1.211 Billion
About the Author(s): 

Yum Brands, Inc. develops, operates, franchises and licenses a worldwide system of restaurants that prepare, package and sell a menu of competitively priced food items. Well known franchises include: KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers and A&W.