BANGALORE: Yum Brands is set to open its first Taco Bell restaurant in India early next year, in a bid to cash in on one of the most youthful consumer markets in the world.

The Louisiana-based fast food group already operates 72 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and 158 Pizza Huts in India, and as the US market is at saturation point, the firm is shifting overseas operations up a gear.

The Bangalore branch of Taco Bell will be followed by five more test openings in 2010 before the firm decides on the scale of a national roll-out.

In all, Yum hopes to operate 1,000 Indian restaurants by 2015, generating around $1 billion (€697m; £621m) in annual revenue.

Although Yum has been active in China for more than two decades, growth in recent months has slowed. While the country will deliver a third of Yum's projected $1.54bn operating profits this year, the company believes that India offers potentially richer pickings at this stage.

With the median age in India a youthful 25 years old, compared with 37 years old in the US, Yum believes it can position Taco Bell as a fashionable and inexpensive brand for this audience.

“What Indians are looking for is not an Indian version of Mexican food but a truly Mexican-inspired food experience,” says Niren Chaudhary, general manager of Yum's India business.

The cheapest items on its menus will be tacos, priced at between 35 cents and 45 cents each.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff