KFC owner Yum Brands Inc. is buying an Israel-based startup that helps customers order food to text, a strategy executives hope will boost sales as people leave the store. fast food and return to full service restaurants.
Yum is set to use software created by Tictuk Technologies Ltd., a private technology company founded in 2016, to order fast food via text messages, as well as social media apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, the companies said. The technology returns a customer’s order in as little as 60 seconds, said Clay Johnson, director of technology and digital technology at Yum.
Sales at Yum, which is based in Louisville, Ky., Have increased since Tictuk’s technology was tested in about 900 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 35 countries, the company said. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
As America’s restaurant industry begins to reopen, fast food companies are looking for ways to keep the customers they gained while restaurants were closing. Many chains are investing in online order picking systems to try to make them an attractive option as consumers eat more.
Online sales have exploded for businesses ranging from retailers to car dealerships during the pandemic. Restaurants had started to establish digital ordering mechanisms before the crisis and have quickly sought to do more since then.