KFC, Taco Bell Take Orders Via Social and Text

Yum! Brands’ recent acquisitions will enable unique omnichannel food-ordering capabilities. 

March 25, 2021

KFC Sign with KFC Logo

LOUISVILLE, KY—As mobile marketing and ordering grow ever more important, Yum! Brands Inc. is stepping up its mobile game. With the recent acquisition of Tictuk Technologies, an Israeli omnichannel ordering and marketing platform company, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill customers will soon be able to place orders via text messages.

Founded in 2016, Tictuk specializes in conversational commerce, a technology 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 online ordering and marketing platform also leverages a hybrid of chat, web, advertisements and intelligent marketing technology to engage with consumers.

Yum! Brands has deployed Tictuk’s platform in about 900 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 35 countries outside of the United States and plans to scale the omnichannel ordering and marketing capabilities to more markets and franchisees globally.

This is Yum Brands’ second technology-related acquisition in March. Yum also acquired Texas-based Kvantum Inc., an artificial intelligence-based consumer insights and marketing performance analytics company. Yum! Brands plans to leverage Kvantum’s services globally to enhance consumer insights and data analytics and enable data-driven marketing decisions. The acquisition of Kvantum is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

“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, founder and CEO of Tictuk, in a press release.

Yum! Brands estimates that its acquisitions of Tictuk and Kvantum should accelerate its ability to grow digital sales as they are deployed over time in markets around the world.

Rise of QR Codes

Well, more like re-rise. QR codes have been around for nearly three decades, but the initial clunky user experience and poor execution hindered the technology’s ability to fully take off. However, as the technology improved QR codes found a new surge during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to their ability to offer a seamless, contactless shopping experience.

The NACS Magazine feature, “Code Switch,” notes that 7-Eleven has leveraged QR codes in its contactless Mobile Checkout tool in select areas. While inside the store, 7Rewards loyalty users scan product barcodes with the 7-Eleven app, add them to their basket and earn points and discounts. Customers can pay with a debit or credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay. After the payment is authorized, the user scans a QR code on a confirmation screen.

“The checkout process utilizes unique, one-time-use only QR codes for customers to confirm their purchases on their way out of the store, providing an assured, worry-free and convenient shopping experience for the customers, while enabling a seamless verification to the stores of the purchase,” said Sajjad Khan, senior director of product management at 7-Eleven Inc.

Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s used QR codes to drive engagement with its Casey’s Rewards loyalty program, launched in January 2020. When customers point their camera at a QR code found on signage at the pump, they are routed to the app store for their device and reach the details page for Casey’s mobile app. “That’s been a huge win for us as people are on their device already at the pump; they’re interested; they want to engage,” said Mike Templeton, director of digital marketing for Casey’s.

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