LOS ANGELES – The parent of the Pizza Hut (search), Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains will give out free gym memberships to customers beginning Jan. 1 in a bid to win over consumers resolved to limit fatty foods in the New Year.
Customers visiting any of Yum Brands Inc.'s (YUM) five restaurant chains, including Long John Silver's (search) and A&W, in the month of January will be able to receive a free, 4-week membership from health club operator Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. (BFT), the companies said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Yum, the second-largest fast-food company behind McDonald's, has 18,000 restaurants in the United States. Bally's operates about 400 health clubs nationwide, mostly in urban areas.
The partnership comes as fast-food companies like Yum and rival McDonald's Corp. (MCD) are working to counter claims that their food is contributing to the nation's obesity epidemic.
McDonald's, which was sued in 2003 by teenagers claiming that the chain's hamburgers made them fat, has since enjoyed success with a new line of entree-sized salads aimed at more health-conscious consumers.
A similar effort earlier this year by Yum's KFC fried chicken chain to offer less fatty, roasted chicken, was less successful.