What happened?

Shares of Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), which boasts more than 44,000 restaurants in 135 countries under the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, were up 7% Thursday at 10:45 a.m. EDT after management released solid third-quarter results.

So what

Starting from the top, total revenues declined 5% to $1.44 billion but managed to top analysts' estimates calling for $1.39 billion. Third-quarter earnings per share checked in at $1.18, a 115% increase over the prior year, but adjusted for one-time items was a more modest 22% gain to $0.68 earnings per share. That's still a strong result and ahead of analysts' calling for $0.67 earnings per share. Putting the financials aside, some investors could be taking a sigh of relief after management said Pizza Hut saw no negative impacts from the NFL protests that Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) had blamed for slightly weaker sales earlier this week.

"As we celebrate both our 1st anniversary from the spinoff of Yum China and our 20th anniversary as an independent company, I am proud of our accomplishments. I'm especially proud of our ability to leverage our culture to rapidly transform to a more focused, more franchised and more efficient company which delivers more growth to our shareholders," said Greg Creed, Yum! Brands' CEO, in a press release.

Woof fired grilled pizza

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Management also noted the company was still on pace to reach its multiyear goals that include being at 98% franchisee ownership in 2018, reducing costs, and improving U.S. same-store sales by boosting online sales, among other targets. If the company can continue executing on its multiyear strategy as it has recently, expect more solid quarters from Yum! Brands.