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Yum! Brands is taking a significant leap into the realm of technology with plans to introduce “AI-powered” fast food.

  • Yum! Brands, which operates Taco Bell and Pizza Hut among others, is embracing AI technology to power fast-food innovations.

  • With digital sales now comprising 45% of total sales, the company aims to enhance operational efficiency and cut costs amidst California’s new $20 minimum wage law.

  • Their AI initiatives include SuperApp for restaurant managers, featuring generative AI for operational guidance, augmented reality for training, and franchise-funded investments.

The company has been ramping up its investment in technology and automation, with digital sales now accounting for about 45% of its total sales, amounting to approximately $30 billion.

This figure marks a significant increase compared to 2019, where digital sales stood at half the current level, according to Joe Park, Yum’s chief digital and technology manager.

“Our vision of quick-service restaurants is centered around an AI-first mentality that permeates every aspect of our operations,” Park explained to The Wall Street Journal.

“We believe the potential for AI-powered solutions within the restaurant environment is limitless.”

Fast food restaurants are turning to AI

High paid workers

In light of California’s new minimum wage law, which will see most fast-food workers earning $20 per hour, Yum!

Brands, like many other restaurant operators, is turning to AI as a means to reduce costs and drive sales.

The implementation of AI by fast-food giants like Yum goes beyond merely enhancing the customer experience.

Yum has developed a mobile app called SuperApp for restaurant managers, currently being tested with generative AI capabilities.

This feature allows team members to seek operational guidance, such as optimal oven temperatures. Additionally, the app, which is already in use across over 8,700 Pizza Hut and KFC outlets, facilitates ingredient procurement and staff scheduling.

Anew augmented reality feature is in development to aid workers in learning how to prepare new menu items.