- Yum Brands and the University of Louisville have launched the Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence, which will provide existing and potential franchisees with various levels of online education focused on the franchising model across multiple industries, according to a press release.
- The center will also focus on recruiting and educating underrepresented people of color and women on franchising.
- The creation of this center is part of Yum's larger, global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, in which the company pledged $100 million over five years to promote equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship for employees, frontline restaurant teams and global communities.
The opening of the Yum Center is just one of many initiatives that Yum has embarked upon to try to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Earlier this year, the company joined OneTen Coalition to develop, retain and advance diverse and underrepresented talent into U.S. restaurant management, field leadership and corporate roles. The company was also named in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equity Index for its efforts to advance women's equality and transparency in gender reporting.
The new educational center will allow Yum to expand its DEI initiatives further. The number of women who own franchises has grown in recent years. Women owned or co-owned 265,000 franchises in 2019, representing 35% of franchise outlets, according to The Wall Street Journal. In 2009, women owned only 24% of franchise outlets. Minorities also made up 30.8% of franchise business owners in 2020, USA Today reports.
The center adds to the University of Louisville's existing franchising education program within the College of Business, which offers a graduate program and an executive-level franchise management certificate. The center recently launched an undergraduate franchising tract within the Bachelor of Business Administration program for the Spring 2021 semester. The center's curriculum will be shaped by franchising industry alumni and business experts at the university. Subject matter experts at Yum will also offer resources, up-to-date information and industry insights on franchising.
As part of its efforts to improve equity for underrepresented people of color and women, the center plans to recruit diverse students to its undergraduate, graduate and executive-level programs within the College of Business. It will also conduct research, including case studies, white papers and other works, to better understand why there is lower franchise ownership among people of color and women. The center will also produce podcasts and a practitioner-focused journal to share franchising education and news with franchise owners and managers.
While Yum's program is unique, it isn't the first time a restaurant company has partnered with a university to create an educational platform. Starbucks plans to open an innovation center at Arizona State University at the end of 2021 where it will leverage ASU's applied research and on-campus test stores to develop new customer experiences, for example.