Taco Bell's owner is buying a marketing technology business

Yum Brands has a deal to acquire Kvantum, which uses artificial intelligence to understand consumer insights and marketing performance.
Yum Brands buys marketing business
Photo courtesy of KFC

Yum Brands is buying a Texas-based technology company called Kvantum that will enable the quick-service chain operator to measure the performance of marketing programs in specific geographies, the company announced on Tuesday.

The deal, expected to close by the end of the first quarter, will give the Louisville, Ky.-based company a business that uses machine learning to understand consumer behavior. The business will be used to help Yum with marketing and digital programs for its four fast-food brands KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Habit Burger.

Kvantum already works with Yum’s concepts in a number of global markets. Yum apparently likes it enough to buy that business and bring it in-house. 

“Kvantum is an innovator in data analytics and marketing optimization and has a proven track record of delivering significant value to several of our international markets by enabling data-driven marketing decisions to increase sales and better leverage media budgets,” Clay Johnson, Yum’s chief digital and technology officer, said in a statement.

He said the acquisition will allow Yum “to apply a disciplined marketing sciences program at scale and fast-track our data and analytics strategy.”

It’s not the first time that Yum has acquired a technology business it liked to bring it in house—the company’s Pizza Hut business bought QuikOrder in 2018 and in 2015 Yum acquired Collider Lab, a consumer insights consultancy.

Yum plans to combine Kvantum’s approach with the anthropologists and sociologists at Collider. Yum believes the combination “will yield even deeper consumer and brand insights” to help advance its marketing strategies around the world.

The acquisition is part of Yum’s overall strategy to improve digital access of its brands around the world. The company is using data and analytics and emerging technologies to improve the customer experience and unit economics and find new avenues of growth.

Kvantum was founded in 2012 by Shilpi Sharma, its CEO, and Harpreet Singh, its chief technology officer. Kvantum develops algorithms and artificial intelligence models to help brands understand consumer behavior and make informed media decisions.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.


More from our partners