Hold the pepperoni--PepsiCo sees a future in upscale food. On May 20, it bought 50% of California Pizza Kitchen, the Los Angeles-based maker of posh pies topped with barbecued chicken, Peking duck, or Cajun sausage. PepsiCo, which owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, paid an undisclosed amount for half of the privately held 25-restaurant chain, which has annual sales of about $60 million.
CPK founders Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield, former criminal lawyers who opened their first pizzeria in 1985, will continue to manage the West Coast chain. With PepsiCo, growth at CPK will be "absolutely faster," Flax says. It has been adding one restaurant a month lately.