Pizza Hut doubles down on digital ordering with QuikOrder acquisition
- Pizza Hut is acquiring QuikOrder, an online quick-service restaurant ordering platform, marking one of Pizza Hut’s largest acquisitions ever. The acquisition, which is expected to close at the end of the month, includes the digital ordering platform, systems and services as well as QuikOrder’s in-restaurant technology and future products and programming, according to a company release.
- QuikOrder, which was established in 1997, has worked with Pizza Hut for nearly 20 years. About half of Pizza Hut’s sales in the U.S. were done through QuikOrder in 2018.
- The acquisition is part of Pizza Hut’s plans to enhance the ordering experience and accelerate digital innovation across its 6,000 stores.
Pizza Hut’s latest move further entrenches itself in online ordering as it fights for a bigger slice of the digital pizza market. It has tough competition — Domino’s has steadily released new digital innovations within the last 18 months, including a Hotspots ordering system that launched in spring. This system allows customers to order pizza and have it delivered to over 200,000 designated hotspots, such as parks, beaches or athletic fields, without being in a physical location.
Domino’s has long-focused on technology and digital ordering with a goal of eventually becoming a 100% digital business. Its online ordering currently takes over 60% share of sales while walk-in are 10% and phone orders make up 25%, according to QSR Magazine. In addition to hotspots and its robust digital platform, the company allows customers to order via emoji and use a dinner bell feature on its app to let others know that food has arrived.
Pizza Hut has been working on a turnaround, improving its messaging, sponsoring the NFL and offering a $5 menu and additional menu options in the last few months, executives told investors during the Q3 earnings call. Pizza Hut's acquisition of QuikOrder is also part of the pizza chain’s commitments under its Transformation Agreement with franchisees, which centers on improving operations and speeding up technological enhancements and e-commerce capabilities, according to a press release.
To date, Pizza Hut offers various online ordering tools, including a delivery tracker with text alerts, ordering options via voice-enabled digital assistants and social and Hut Rewards, a loyalty program that rewards customers for every dollar they spend on online orders. Pizza Hut even unleashed a pizza-making prototype truck in October as part of a specialty trade show. The Toyota Tundra PIE Pro has robot pizza-maker in the truck bed that can cook pies in seven minutes while on the road to customers' homes.
Pizza Hut has struggled with sales of late, and is Yum Brands’ poorest performing chain, decreasing system sales 1% while same-store sales rose 1% and net new unit declined 1% during Q3, according to the earnings call. Comparatively, Domino’s posted same-store growth of 6.3% during the last quarter. The acquisition may just be what Pizza Hut needs to bring same-store sales into positive territory.
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