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09/07/2021

Yum! Brands completes third AI technology acquisition of 2021

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Yum! Brands is acquiring Dragontail Systems.

Yum! Brands Inc. has an appetite for artificial intelligence, and is sating its technology hunger with Dragontail Systems Ltd.

The global quick-service restaurant conglomerate has officially completed a $69.1 million all-cash purchase of Australian technology corporation Dragontail Systems, in accordance with Australian corporate law. Initially announced in May 2021, the acquisition makes Dragontail a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yum! Brands.

Dragontail’s platform is focused on optimizing and managing the entire food preparation process, from order through delivery. Its connected, intelligent, end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution automates the kitchen flow, combined with the process of dispatching drivers.

The platform is also designed to help restaurants sequence and time each order, while planning optimal delivery routes and combining delivery orders by location. Dragontail technology also provides consumer-facing capabilities that enable customers to track their order en route, and can operate with outside food delivery partners.

Dragontail’s kitchen order management and delivery technology is deployed across nearly 1,500 Pizza Hut restaurants in over 10 countries. According to Yum! Brands, many Pizza Hut restaurants leveraging Dragontail’s platform have already seen a positive impact on sales, order fulfillment and customer satisfaction scores, including product freshness and delivery time. Yum! Brands’ purchase of Dragontail also brings in house other Dragontail emerging technologies, including its AI-based camera quality control system.

The addition of Dragontail to the Yum! portfolio marks the company’s third technology acquisition in 2021. In March, Yum! Brands acquired the business of Kvantum, Inc.,  an AI-based consumer insights and marketing performance analytics company. That same month, Yum! Brands also acquired Tictuk Technologies, an omnichannel ordering and marketing platform company enabling customer access through text, social media, and other conversational channels.

“Dragontail’s cutting-edge restaurant technology allows us to tap into the power of AI to optimize the end-to-end food preparation process and accelerate and further enhance our delivery technology capabilities,” said Chris Turner, CFO, Yum! Brands. “We believe Dragontail will make it easier for team members to operate and run a restaurant, help our franchisees strengthen their store operations and provide a superior experience for customers.”

“A key growth driver for our business and our teams is the continued acceleration of our digital and technology strategy, including how we leverage our global scale with investments in technology initiatives that enhance the customer and employee experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and provide a competitive advantage for our franchisees,” said David Gibbs, CEO, Yum! Brands. “We’re excited to welcome Dragontail and its world-class talent to the Yum! family and look forward to deploying its AI kitchen order management, delivery and other technologies globally to our brands and franchisees over time.”

Yum! Brands is focused on the continued acceleration of its digital and technology initiatives across the globe, geared toward providing customers with new and seamless ways to access its brands. Delivery, which the company offers in over 39,000 restaurants, is a key part of its strategy.

Dragontail Systems will continue to be operated as an independent brand. The Dragontail business unit, as part of Yum! Brands, will continue to offer technology solutions to its existing clients. Dragontail employees will primarily be located in Israel, the U.S. and Australia, and will continued to be managed by Dragontail’s managing director Ido Levanon.

Baker McKenzie acted as lead legal advisor to Yum! Brands and Thomson Geer acted as legal advisor to Dragontail Systems.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Yum! Brands, Inc., has over 51,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories, operating the Company’s brands – KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill.