Some thoughts on Yum’s Dragontail chord
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Greetings from eastern Kentucky, where I’m taking a little break from the restaurant business and heading off to visit AppHarvest’s high-tech greenhouse.
But first, a few quick thoughts on the recent Yum! Acquisition by the brands of Dragontail Systems, announced at the end of last week. In case it’s not already clear, Yum – parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger Grill – has big ambitions when it comes to its technology plans. The Dragontail deal suggests that a big part of that ambition is to enable better delivery to its restaurants.
Based in Australia, Dragontail Systems is known in the restaurant industry for its AI-based workflow management system for kitchens. The system can process a restaurant’s incoming orders, manage the cooking time for each food item so it’s ready when the delivery person arrives (not before or after), help manage and schedule drivers, and provide updates in real time. In the past, restaurants have also used Dragontail’s AI-based camera to assess food quality and ensure kitchen safety and cleanliness standards.
Dragontail is Yum’s third major technology acquisition to date in 2021. Earlier this year, Yum acquired artificial intelligence company Kvantum to help it analyze its marketing campaigns, and Tictuk, which makes software for Omnichannel ordering that allows consumers to place orders via social networks, SMS, e-mail. and other formats.
The Dragontail acquisition is hyper-focused on improving delivery operations, and pizza delivery in particular. Yum said he has already installed Dragontail in around 1,500 Pizza Hut stores across 10 countries. If a broader implementation of the technology is successful, Yum will eventually install the technology further into its Pizza Hut locations, and eventually all of its brands.
Of course, Dragontail initially launched its system at a Domino site in Australia, so Yum’s offer to buy the company is at least in part a way to compete. I doubt fighting Domino’s is the only motivator, as the deal appears to be aimed at a broader movement to make food preparation more efficient at Yum restaurants.
Restaurant kitchens have always operated in a sort of orchestrated chaos, but with many businesses still struggling as a result of last year’s events, efficiency is everyone’s favorite word right now. On paper, Dragontail’s capabilities seem simple: manage the arrivals and departures of drivers, determine more precise fire times for each food, more accurately assess the quality of the food. But as anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant kitchen knows, getting one thing wrong can set off a whole chain of accidents that lead to substandard food, unhappy customers and, in the end, waste of money. ‘silver. With the acquisition of Dragontail, Yum is leveraging technology to help the company avoid this scenario.
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