By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian food mogul, Carlos Wizard Martins announced on Monday an agreement with Yum! Brands to purchase operations of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in Brazil and manage existing franchises all over the country. Martins is expected to invest over R$135 million into the operations during the next five years.

KFC restaurants, like this one in Catete, Rio de Janeiro, are now managed by the Martins family, photo by Eduardo P/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

“In addition to strengthening the relationship between the brands and their current franchisees, we will invest in the expansion of the two networks in Brazil’s main markets,” stated Martins in a press release to announce the acquisition, adding, “We believe there is enormous potential for expansion.”

According to the announcement, the Martins Family is acquiring fourteen units of KFC that belonged to Yum! Brands and the opening twenty additional units of KFC throughout the country within the next five years. The agreement also calls for the opening of 35 Pizza Hut stores as well as the administration of the current 180 franchised units found in 24 states.

Martins, once owner of the very successful English language school, Wizard, also owns the Brazilian operations of Taco Bell since 2016. In 2014 the businessman purchased Mercado Verde, today the leading retailer in the segment of organic and natural foods in Latin America.

According to Martins investments in the food sector are always a good thing, even in economically unstable times. “There is plenty of room to grow,” Martins said in an interview to national news outlet O Estado de S. Paulo.

“Even in times of recession, the fast food industry grows at a rate of ten percent a year. With the economy improving, this segment will skyrocket,” concluded Martins.

Martins’ son, Lincoln, will serve as CEO of the fast-food brand holding company that will be created to administer KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants.

“Our rapid success with Taco Bell and our assessment that the fast food market has tremendous growth potential has motivated this investment in two brands that are already successful here,” stated Lincoln Martins.

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