Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc. has received the International Franchise Association's Ronald E. Harrison Award for its accomplishments in diversity and inclusion. The award was presented during the IFA's annual convention this week in Las Vegas.

Yum! Brands, Inc., is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system units with more than 38,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in more than 120 countries and 1.4 million associates. Yum! is ranked No. 213 on the Fortune 500 list, with revenues of more than $12 billion in 2011. Outside of the U.S. in 2011, the Yum! Brands system opened approximately four new restaurants each day of the year.

According to Yum! Brands, diversity is an organizational priority at the company. Yum! believes that the more its workforce, franchisees and suppliers reflect the global marketplace in which it operates, the more it will be able to satisfy its customers. One of the company's founding "How We Win Together" principles — Believe in All People — underscores the importance of "actively seeking diversity in others, believing everyone has the potential to make a difference, and coaching and supporting every individual to grow to their full capacity."

Yum! Brands' chairman and CEO David Novak reviews diversity progress throughout the year to identify and accelerate development of next generation talent at every managerial level. More than 50 percent of Yum!'s U.S. workforce are minorities, as well as more than 50 percent of the company's new hires. Yum! also announced it is increasing the representation of African Americans, Hispanics and women among its key talent and growing the pipeline of diversity in its mid-level manager ranks. In addition, all of its brands have leadership initiatives focused on high-potential diverse talent, and all leaders serve as mentors.

Yum! supports minority entrepreneurship through its sponsorship of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of IFA's Diversity Institute. In addition, the company has refranchised hundreds of restaurants to minority franchisees within the last few years.

More than 25 percent of the company's annual corporate giving goes to support predominantly minority communities. Each year, Yum! partners with its multicultural customers through high-impact programs such as KFC Pride 360°, LULAC and Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) National Young Professional and Youth and College Programs, creation of the Poder Magazine Hispana Leadership Summit, and a strategic partnership with National Urban League's Young Professionals, among others. In addition, Yum! is a founding member and supports organizations such as the Women's Foodservice Forum and the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance.

The company has been named one of Fortune Magazine's "Top 50 Employers for Minorities" and "Top 50 Employers for Women," one of Black Enterprise's "40 Best Companies for Diversity" for seven consecutive years, one of Hispanic Magazine's "Corporate 100 Companies Providing Opportunities for Hispanics," one of Hispanic Enterprise Magazine's "Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity," one of Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" and by Businessweek as one of the "Top 15 Companies for In-Kind Corporate Philanthropy."

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