KFC system sales were down 2% in 2018 but rallied in the final quarter with a 1% increase, parent company Yum! Brands has reported.

The group was hit mass distribution problems at the start of the year but in a post-results conference call, Yum! Brands chief executive Greg Creed said he expected the business was now returning to normal performance.

Globally, KFC like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter increased 3% with system sales up 8%.

For Pizza Hut, the group segments only to Europe-wide performance, which showed a like-for-like fall of 2% across the year and 6% in the quarter.

Creed also welcomed Taco Bell’s re-entry to London, with three stores announced “in a way only Taco Bell can with the help of Big Ben’s chimes”.

Reflecting on the performance, he said: “2018 was a year of significant milestones in bold restaurant development. We now have over 48,000 restaurants in approximately 270 brand country combinations.

“Together, with our world-class franchisees, we opened on average 8 gross restaurants per day. Or in other words, one restaurant every three hours.”