PepsiCo Inc. is taking pizza, chicken and tacos off its corporate menu so it can focus on dishing up soft drinks and potato chips.
The Purchase, N.Y.-based conglomerate announced plans Thursday to spin off its sluggish restaurant business, which includes the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell chains, into a separate company.
The move frees PepsiCo to concentrate on its faster growing Pepsi soft drink and Frito-Lay snack foods businesses.
The new restaurant company would instantly rank as the second biggest in the world behind McDonald’s Corp. with more than $20 billion in combined sales and would be the biggest in terms of units, with about 29,000 restaurants.
The plan to give shares in the new company to PepsiCo shareholders marks the boldest step taken by Roger Enrico since becoming chief executive last April. Pepsico bought Pizza Hut in 1977 and added the others later.
PepsiCo also said it was exploring the possibility of selling its food distribution unit, which ships more than $3 billion worth of restaurant equipment and supplies every year.