Louisville, Ky.-based restaurant giant Yum! Brands, formerly known as Tricon Global Restaurants, has launched a joint venture agreement with Hong Kong-based Favorite Restaurants Group to test Asian food in a fast casual restaurant format.

The restaurants will be called "Yan Can" after celebrity chef Martin Yan, who will consult on restaurant design and menu development.

Yan is best known as the host of the "Yan Can Cook" show, which is aired in more than 70 countries, including nearly 250 markets across the US. Yan's name and likeness will appear on all interior and exterior restaurant signage.

"America loves Asian food. We're excited to test this new restaurant concept with Martin Yan, who is to Asian food what Colonel Sanders is to KFC," said David Novak, Yum! chairman and CEO.

The first Yan Can Restaurant is expected to open in San Francisco in June, and will include fast casual dine-in and take-out menus developed by Yan. The average meal price will be US$7. The JV plans to open up to five Yan Can Restaurants by year's end, and then determine future expansion plans.

The 50/50 JV between Yum! and Favorite Restaurants, a subsidiary of the KFC franchisee of Yum! Restaurants International in Hong Kong and Indonesia, will jointly own and operate Yan Can Restaurants. Favorite Restaurants has an exclusive licence agreement with Martin Yan for the development and operation of restaurant concepts. Arthur Ho, CEO of Favorite Restaurants, will serve as CEO of the Yan Can JV. Ho's company is the franchise owner and operator of 46 KFC restaurants in Hong Kong, and 69 Pizza Huts in Indonesia.