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Knock knock...Who's there? Taco Bell and the Colonel

By JOSEPH PISANI
AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - As the big fast food restaurants increasingly see vast potential in pushing convenience beyond the drive-thru, Taco Bell and KFC are expanding delivery nationwide in partnership with Grubhub.

Yum Brands, which owns both restaurants, said Thursday that Grubhub will provide the delivery people and the technology to take online orders and make deliveries across the United States.

People will be able to order through the KFC, Taco Bell or Grubhub apps and websites.

Yum Brands is not alone in seeing the possibilities. McDonald's, in partnership with Uber Eats, has already expanded delivery from 5,000 of its nearly 14,000 U.S. stores.

The desire for delivery is blossoming right now, making it easy to see why fast food chains want to get in on the actions.

Annual sales at Grubhub had nearly doubled by 2016, just two years after the company went public.

Taco Bell and KFC have used a patchwork of online delivery services in the past, but a deepening relationship with Grubhub shows how getting food into homes has grabbed the company's attention.

Solidifying ties between the two companies, Yum Brands Inc. is buying $200 million worth of shares in Grubhub Inc. Artie Starrs, who oversees Pizza Hut in the U.S. for Yum, will join Grubhub's board of directors.

Pizza Hut already delivers food, but will work with Chicago's Grubhub to make improvements.

The companies declined to say how many Taco Bell and KFC restaurants would offer delivery and when. Franchisees have to agree to sign on, and the service will be rolled out throughout the year.

Yum Brands began testing delivery through Grubhub last month in a few cities, including Indianapolis; Omaha, Nebraska; and Louisville, Kentucky, where Yum Brands is based.

____

Contact Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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