Yum Brands hunts for global leader to build digital, tech strategy
- Yum Brands Inc. is hiring a "new senior leader" tasked with global, digital and technology strategy, said CEO Greg Creed, during the company's Q4 2018 earnings call. The role will report directly to Creed.
- The parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC operates more than 48,000 restaurants as of 2018, according to Creed. Yum Brands averages about eight restaurant openings daily. Technology is "increasingly at the forefront of our strategic planning efforts" and stands as one of the four "growth drivers" for the fast food chain company, among franchise operating capability.
- On Jan. 28, Yum Brands elevated David Gibbs to president and COO, though he will retain his CFO duties until a successor for the role is named. The brands housed under Yum Brands will report to Gibbs as he oversees strategy, finance, supply chain and information technology.
The company is in the "the final year" of the transformation efforts it began in 2016, said Creed, which includes focus on franchise and efficiency. Yum Brands is looking to expand its digital technologies and capabilities as it builds out its portfolio.
Each of the restaurant chains have their own CIO and the digital tactics vary among them. Pizza Hut, for example, is investing in technology to stand out from other pizza delivery services leveraging emerging tech. In October, Pizza Hut announced a partnership with Toyota to create a robot pizza-maker in the bed of a SR5 pick-up truck.
The changes in Pizza Hut come from a Yum Brands' transformation agreement in May 2017, according to an SEC filing. The parent company promised the franchise about $90 million in part dedicated to upgrades in operations, technology and e-commerce.
Yum Brands is securing more sophisticated tools so it "can parse data to figure out where to put stores to be the most profitable," said Gibbs during the call.
Much like every other industry, the fast food industry is ripe for digital transformation, with some brands taking on elements of tech companies to capitalize innovation while serving pizzas or tacos. The push for technology to drive sales to its chains puts more pressure on finding a universal brand CIO or someone with similar responsibilities.
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