Yum Brands Embracing AI Technology To Cut Costs, Stay Competitive

Operator Yum! Brands says about 45% of sales are digital

Fox News

(Fox Business) Yum! Brands, the operator of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill restaurants, is embracing technology with plans for “AI-powered” fast food, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The company has been increasing investment in technology and automation, with about 45%, or $30 billion, of sales being digital – nearly twice what it was in 2019 – Yum’s chief digital and technology manager Joe Park told the newspaper. That is roughly double the level of 2019.


“Our vision of [quick-service restaurants] is that an AI-first mentality works every step of the way,” Park told the Wall Street Journal. “If you think about the major journeys within a restaurant that can be AI-powered, we believe it’s endless.”

With California’s new minimum wage law taking effect Monday, meaning most fast-food workers will be paid $20 per hour, most restaurant operators are turning to AI to cut costs and increase sales, the Journal reported.

For fast-food giants like Yum, the use of AI is aimed at going beyond improving the customer experience.

Yum has a mobile app for restaurant managers called SuperApp, which the Wall Street Journal reported is testing generative AI, allowing team members to ask operational questions like how to set oven temperatures. Park told the Journal that the app – which is currently used by more than 8.700 Pizza Hut and KFC establishments – can also be used to purchase ingredients and set employee shifts, and that a new augmented reality feature could help teach workers how to make new menu items.

Taco Bell worker makes Mountain Dew frozen drink
An employee makes the popular Mountain Dew Baja Blast frozen drink at the Taco Bell Cantina in Brookline, Massachusetts, on Dec. 4, 2020.(John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via / Getty Images)

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