Yum Brands is buying another digital marketing company

The owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut this time is buying Tictuk Technologies, which enables online ordering and marketing through chat platforms like WhatsApp.
Yum Brands buys marketing business
Image courtesy of Taco Bell

Yum Brands is scooping up another technology company.

This time, the owner of Taco Bell and KFC said Wednesday that it has bought Tictuk Technologies, an Israeli omnichannel ordering and marketing platform company. The technology will help Yum’s concepts, which also include Pizza Hut and Habit Burger, let customers order through social media and chat channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

It is the second deal for a marketing technology company this month, following its earlier announcement that it is buying Kvantum, a company that uses artificial intelligence to understand consumer insights and marketing performance.

“As we navigate the consumer landscape reshaped by the events of 2020, we continue to intensify our focus on leveraging our scale and reinforcing our growth model with investments in digital and technologies to enhance the customer experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and enable our brands and franchisees to compete and win in a rapidly changing world,” Yum CEO David Gibbs said in a statement.

Yum’s acquisitions, including the latest one, highlight how much the industry has moved toward digital ordering and marketing just in the last year as consumers, stuck at home, have purchased more items using their phone—including restaurant food.

Digital orders have skyrocketed over the past year. Yum generated $17 billion in digital sales last year, up 45% from 2019, as digital and delivery sales became the norm among fast-food consumers. Yum—historically unafraid to acquire niche technology companies—has opted to spend some of its cash to bolster its competitiveness in this area.

Tictuk was founded in 2016 and is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It specializes in conversational commerce, which allows users to complete orders and interact with brands through social media and chat channels, also including Telegram, SMS, QR codes and email.

Its online ordering and marketing platform also leverages a hybrid of chat, web, advertisements and intelligent marketing technology to engage with consumers. The technology integrates with point-of-sale and existing payment systems and works with delivery, curbside pickup and in-restaurant dining.

“The right technologies will allow us to better serve customers with the best offer and delicious food in a way that’s most convenient for them,” Chief Financial Officer Chris Turner said in a statement. He said Tictuk’s technology “delivers high impact by enabling our brands to achieve a truly omnichannel presence and provide frictionless ordering in just a few clicks.”

Yum has already deployed the platform in 900 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 35 countries outside the U.S. The company plans to offer the capabilities to more markets and franchisees globally to enable customers to access its brands through chat and social media channels.

Yum said the Tictuk deal is complete, and that the business will continue to offer its platform to existing clients.

“Tictuk has a proven track record of driving increased conversation, loyalty and sales by making it even easier for customers to order our brands through their preferred social media or conversational channel,” Clay Johnson, Yum’s chief digital and technology officer, said in a statement.

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