Customers of fast-food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell will soon find it so much easier and more convenient to order food online – by opening popular social media and messenger apps to place orders for mouthwatering fried chicken, doughy cheese pizza, and Mexican-inspired tacos and burritos.
Yum! Brands, the Kentucky-based firm that operates 50,000 restaurants in over 150 countries including these brands and others, announced the acquisition this month of Israeli omnichannel ordering and marketing platform Tictuk Technologies.
Founded in 2016, the Tel Aviv-based startup specializes in conversational commerce, a tech solution that allows users to complete orders and interact with brands through a variety of social media and chat channels, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, SMS, QR codes, and email.
Tictuk’s platform also uses a hybrid of chat, web, advertisements, and intelligent marketing technology to engage with consumers. The tech integrates with POS (point of sale) and existing payment systems and works for all types of customer engagement including delivery, curbside pick-up and in-restaurant dining, according to the joint statement. On its website, Tictuk indicates integrations with Facebook, Slack, Telegram, WeChat, and others.
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed but Yum! Brands said in the announcement that the addition of Tictuk to its portfolio will give the company the ability to offer more ways for consumers to access and order its KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill brands through some of the world’s most popular social media and conversational platforms.
The Tictuk platform is already available in 900 restaurants in 35 countries outside of the US, the parties indicated. There are plans to scale and offer Tictuk’s capabilities to more markets and franchises around the world. But no word yet on when the new technology will be available in the US.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, online orders for fast food have skyrocketed, as authorities across the world urged the public to avoid restaurants and bars and to practice social distancing.
Yum! Brands’ digital sales hit a record $17 billion in 2020, an increase of about 45 percent over the past year, the company reported. The fast-food corporation is now “focused on providing a best-in-class digital journey across mobile, online, delivery, and restaurant operations.” And as the world slowly aims to re-open and return to a sense of normalcy, these capabilities will allow customers to further interact with their favorite food brands.
“Omnichannel ordering creates new opportunities for relevant and intimate engagement with customers and gives brands the ability to reach a wider audience,” said Tomer Ben-Ezra, CEO of Tictuk, which he founded alongside Koby Ben Mordechai, CTO, and Liad Sasi, chief business development officer.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletterSubscribe
“By developing an ecosystem that synergizes ordering technology with performance marketing and analytics, we are empowering brands to better serve customers and increase sales,” he said, adding that the startup was “delighted” to expand its relationship with Yum! Brands and “join its family of global category-leading brands.”
“As we navigate a 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 and employee experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and enable our brands and franchisees to compete and win in a rapidly changing world,” said David Gibbs, CEO of Yum! Brands.
“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,” said Chris Turner, chief financial officer, Yum! Brands.
“We’re excited about the opportunity Tictuk presents, as their solution delivers high impact by enabling our brands to achieve a truly omnichannel presence and provide frictionless ordering for customers in just a few clicks,” he added.
This is the second acquisition for Yum! Brands this month. In early March, the corporation announced a definitive agreement to acquire Kvantum, an artificial intelligence-based consumer insights and marketing performance analytics business.
The acquisition of Kvantum enhanced the company’s ability “to apply powerful consumer insights and data analytics to drive calendar and marketing spend optimization” for its fast food brands,” Yum! Brands said in a statement.