Yum! Brands Acquires AI Platform Kvantum

Kvantum will provide AI customer behavior modelling and machine learning to Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and other Yum! brands.

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Need to Know

  • Yum! Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill, has acquired the AI-based consumer insights and marketing performance analytics business of Kvantum.
  • Kvantum develops algorithms and AI models that help brands understand consumer behavior and measure the effects of marketing tactics
  • Yum! will combine Kvantum’s AI and machine learning tools with the resources of Collider Lab, a consumer insights and marketing strategy consultancy Yum! acquired in 2015.
  • AI has been a major investment area for fast-food chains—in 2019, McDonald’s acquired two AI startups, Dynamic Yield and Apprente.

Analysis

Yum! Brands has acquired Kvantum, a company that specializes in machine learning and AI, in order to leverage the company’s technology towards more data-driven marketing decisions.

Yum!, which operates Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and The Habit Burger Grill, will have access to Kvantum’s suite of AI and machine learning tools, which analyze consumer behavior as well as the success of marketing tactics and advertising campaigns. Kvantum’s Marketing Performance Analytics Platform can measure the effects of marketing tactics across owned, paid, and earned channels. Yum! will have direct access to extensive, granular data sets and AI models, which will allow the company to keep brands relevant and, according to Yum! CEO David Gibbs, “deliver growth for our franchisees and shareholders.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity this acquisition presents, and the potential to scale Kvantum’s proven technologies across our system to strengthen our data and advanced analytics capabilities and elevate our world-class marketing competencies globally,” Gibbs continued.

Clay Johnson, Yum! Brands’ chief digital and technology officer, called Kvantum “an innovator in data analytics and marketing optimization” noting that the company already “has a proven track record of delivering significant value to several of our international markets by enabling data-driven marketing decisions to increase sales and better leverage media budgets.”

Yum! will combine the new data sets provided by Kvantum with the resources provided by anthropologists and sociologists at Collider Lab, a culture-based consumer insights and marketing strategy consultancy that Yum! acquired in 2015. Kvantum’s business unit will continue to consult with clients outside the restaurant industry once it’s part of Yum!, and the deal — the terms of which were not disclosed — is expected to close at the end of this year’s first quarter.

Yum! Brands’ roster of restaurants has invested in a number of technological and digital innovations in recent months. Pizza Hut, for instance, partnered with AI firm Manthan to streamline workflow for the restaurant chain’s UK locations, while KFC integrated its online ordering infrastructure with Google Maps (and, less functionally but no less interestingly, leveraged Alexa and AI technologies to impersonate Colonel Sanders for voice orders). Taco Bell has been the leader in innovation among Yum! Brands’ stable of restaurants, particularly due to its Go Mobile concept restaurants, which will feature a mobile-only drive-thru lane, tablet ordering, and smart kitchen tech.

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