Orange County Business Journal:

The parent company of Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. is looking to the Mexican restaurant chain to drive growth next year.

Taco Bell, part of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., plans to open 54 restaurants next year, up from an average of 34 openings for each of the past three years.

Longer term, Yum is looking to Taco Bell to go from 5,200 company-owned and franchised restaurants to 8,000.

“Taco Bell is our powerhouse brand in the U.S.,” Yum Chief Executive David Novak said during an investor update earlier this month. “We’re very confident that we can take this brand to higher levels.”