LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB News) -- He is the head of one of the world's largest restaurant companies that is based here in Louisville. David Novak travels the world on behalf of YUM! Brands. But Wednesday he was home in Louisville to help kick-off one of his company's philanthropy efforts.
"Today we are here at Brooklawn to feed some kids and have some fun," Novak said while serving food to an eager group of youngsters. Brooklawn is a non-profit agency that houses abused and neglected children.
"What we are doing with Yum! Brands around the world is that we are having a hunger relief global volunteerism effort that we are launching this week," explained Novak.
The Louisville-based corporate giant is encouraging its workers at KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut restaurants to volunteer and work for hunger relief.
"One billion out of the seven billion people on this earth go to bed hungry every night," says Novak, "so we've adopted the notion of really trying to solve hunger as our corporate social responsibility effort."
Novak's public appearance on Wednesday came at a good time for Yum! Brands. The company recently reported third quarter earnings that were better than analysts had expected.
In the United States, the company is benefiting from a strong showing from Taco Bell, which has made changes to its menu.
But it is its business overseas that is driving its success.
"I think one of the most exciting things about our company," says Novak, "is that we are opening a lot of restaurants outside the United States, over five a day in total."
Yum's success is important to Louisville since it has more than a thousand workers at its headquarters here. Novak says Yum's growth will continue to come from expansion in China and India as well as in other foreign places.
"We are now in 20 countries in Africa," explains Novak. "We have a sizable business in Russia and one of the big strengths of Yum! Brands is that 60 percent of our profits come from emerging markets."
He says there is still plenty or room for growth in China. While Yum! has 18,000 American stores, it has only 4,900 in the world's most populous country. He says the company's great challenge is to continue to create a good work environment to attract the right kind of workers.
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