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Taco Bell's Parent to Be Based in Louisville, Ky.

Restaurants: Tricon Global says Irvine office staff won't be cut when new headquarters is opened in 1998.

August 01, 1997|GREG JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, which will be spun off from PepsiCo Inc. later this year, said Thursday that its headquarters will be in Louisville, Ky.

The new holding company, which will own more than 30,000 restaurants, said the decision should not be felt at Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine.

"We want to emphasize that this won't have any impact on Taco Bell's headquarters," said David Novak, Tricon's vice chairman and president.

He said employment at the Mexican-style restaurant chain's Irvine headquarters won't be reduced when Tricon opens its new corporate headquarters in 1998.

Economic development officials in Orange County weren't surprised by Tricon's announcement.

"We'd talked to them, and we talked to the people we know at Taco Bell," said Kenneth Moore, executive vice president of economic development at the Orange County Business Council. "And we understood the playing field."

Economic development officials in California said it was no secret that Novak now lives in Louisville, where he's heavily involved in civic and charitable functions. And before being named vice chairman of Tricon, he was the top executive at KFC's Louisville headquarters.

While Tricon considered Southern California locations, Novak said that government officials in Kentucky "offered a very aggressive tax incentive and bond program, so much so that the economics of the decision were heavily weighted toward Kentucky.

"The biggest issue in California was the higher cost of living, the higher cost of employees," Novak said. "And, geographically, it makes sense for us to be in the heartland of the country, given the fact that our restaurants are located all across the country."

Novak said that only Louisville and Dallas made the restaurant company's "short list" of preferred locations. "We like having a presence in California," Novak said. "But we had a significantly better deal in Kentucky than we would have had in California."

Tricon, the newly named subsidiary that will incorporate PepsiCo's restaurant operations, will build an 83,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building near its KFC Restaurant Support Center. The new corporate headquarters will house 250 Tricon executives and employees, many of whom will move to Louisville from PepsiCo's headquarters in Purchase, N.Y.

KFC's headquarters will remain in Louisville, Novak said, and Pizza Hut's headquarters will not move from Dallas.

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