More Digital Investment for Pizza Hut With QuikOrder Deal
Last month, fellow editor Tom Kaiser wrote that instead of spending big money on restaurant remodels, pizza brands should trim in-store dining and focus their attention—and dollars—on convenience-related opportunities. Pizza Hut, it seems, is taking this advice to heart.
While admittedly this deal was likely in the works before Tom offered his guidance, Pizza Hut made a big move to bolster its online ordering capabilities, acquiring online ordering software and service provider QuikOrder earlier this month. Though it didn’t disclose terms of the agreement, Pizza Hut noted this marks one of its largest acquisitions to date.
QuikOrder specializes in developing and maintaining internet-ordering systems used across the QSR industry and has been used by Pizza Hut for nearly two decades, processing approximately half of the brand’s U.S. sales in 2018. By bringing the company into the Pizza Hut fold, the Yum Brands subsidiary said it will “improve its ability to deliver an easy and personalized online ordering experience and accelerate digital innovation across its base of more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S.”
In an announcement of the deal, Pizza Hut U.S. President Artie Starrs said it shows how one of the largest pizza players is “doubling down” on its commitment to digital and “positions Pizza Hut perfectly for the future.”
“We're also gaining access to an immensely talented group of developers and digital innovators. Together we can more quickly provide breakthrough products and convenient services to our customers that will allow for better franchise economics over the long term,” said Starrs.
Over the past year Pizza Hut continued to expand its digital capabilities and entered into what it called a “Transformation Agreement” with franchisees focused on improving operations and accelerating technology enhancements and e-commerce capabilities. The brand has introduced tools such as a delivery tracker with text alerts, order options through voice-enabled digital assistants and social, and Hut Rewards, a loyalty program that rewards members for every dollar spent on food online.
In 2017, Pizza Hut grew sales by a scant 0.12 percent and gave up its No. 7 spot on the Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking to Domino’s, which had 12.4 percent systemwide sales growth.