Surprise: Taco Bell Is Now in the Business of Startups

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Yum Brands Inc., owner of more than 50,000 KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill restaurants in 150 countries, announced in a statement that it is buying Tictuk Technologies, Inc. an omnichannel ordering and marketing platform based in Tel Aviv, Israel, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com reports. 

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The technology will allow customers to order via text, social media platforms and chat-based apps, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Clay Johnson, chief digital and technology officer for Yum, said the technology can turn around a customer’s order in as fast as 60 seconds, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Yum has already rolled out the ordering app in approximately 900 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell fast food restaurants in 35 countries, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com says. “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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With the challenges of the pandemic, more people began ordering fast food online for delivery or curbside pickup. RestaurantBusinessOnline.com reports that Yum’s digital orders rose 45% in 2020 from 2019. Now, as people return to sit-down dining, quick-serve and fast-food restaurants struggle to retain their customer base. 

Yum has strived to stay ahead of the curve by acquiring companies specializing in digital technology. Earlier this month, Yum announced plans to acquire Kvantum, a digital marketing agency that uses artificial intelligence to understand customer insights and optimize marketing performance, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com reports. 

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The Tictuk acquisition, however, is complete, although neither company revealed the terms or financials of the deal. Tictuk will continue to offer its ordering platform to existing clients, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com says.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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